The future is now

Consider what we have in 2020 that we didn’t have at the end of 2009: Alexa and Siri and smart appliances; Uber and Lyft, the iPad, Netflix streaming, Spotify, Venmo, even self-driving cars.

All of these inventions and developments have altered how we get places, how we are informed and entertained, how we communicate, and how we work and how we raise our families.

Technology has made tasks easier. You don’t have to leave your house to rent a movie. You can shop for anything you want at home. You don’t even have to get out of your chair — just ask Alexa to turn on the thermostat. You can use a ride-sharing service instead of owning a car. Online education gives those far from cities, and working parents, a way to get a degree on their own time.

But technology has its downside, especially when it comes to managing time. More people telecommute thanks to increased broadband speeds, but ask any work-at-home parent just how challenging that can be sometimes. More is expected of us in any given day from everyone; we are fully tethered at all times.

It also raises questions — how much is too much? Is it safe for my child? Is my information secure? Are we losing our communities? Is the information I’m receiving true or false?

I am far from being a technophobe. I believe in the power technology gives us to be smarter,
healthier and connected.

But any type of change can be overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like everything is moving way too fast, especially in our schools.

Classrooms were once home to chalkboards and encyclopedias; now students use tablets and access information from around the world. Learning truly extends beyond the classroom. Phonics, handwriting, and memorizing “times tables” all have fallen out of favor.

With artificial intelligence and automation changing our economy, education needs to keep evolving. Not everyone will be, or should be, in the computer-science field, but learning digital skills like coding (or programming), networking and data analysis has benefits that are broad.

When kids are learning coding, they are learning computational thinking — or how to
communicate logically. Problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which have taken on a new importance, are learned through coding. Kids are also forced to innovate and collaborate. And while it may seem like a relic in this new age, knowing how to write well is more important than ever.

No one could have predicted what has happened in the last 10 years. Who knows how many ways the digital skills we teach now will benefit our kids?

But what is known for sure is that technology will continue to change our world and we need to adequately prepare future generations with a digital education. For more on teaching kids how to code, see our story here.

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