Educating Students for a World of Accelerating Technologies: Opportunities for Schools

A shared challenge facing educators, parents, and community leaders today is how to prepare students for a future that is becoming transformed by accelerating technologies, specifically artificial intelligence. As one recent headline reports, “Teachers want to prepare students for the jobs of the future—but feel stymied.” They’re stymied because they are focusing on a rapidly moving target. Jobs are undergoing an extreme makeover due to accelerating technologies. Entire categories of jobs are disappearing, while new ones are emerging in their place. The prescriptive approach by schools and career development programs that match discrete, present day skills with potential, future jobs won’t work in this emerging future. The direct connection has been broken.

The rise of artificial intelligence, data mining, machine learning, robotics, and algorithms requires us to re-organize around another model for developing K12 graduates for future success in work and life. To navigate an emerging future shaped by AI and automation, students need to be the best humans they can be— creatively adaptive and strategic, with the ability to imagine future possibilities. The orienting focus of schools needs to shift from job – centered, skill requirements to student – centered, human development. As creative advisor Marc Zegans writes, educators must focus on “developing our students’ capacities as creative, adaptive, self-aware, collaborative, emotionally autonomous individuals—people who will take the helm in shaping lives that are distinctly and uniquely theirs.” To robustly navigate an emerging era of AI, students need scaffolding that helps them engage in an authentic process of imagining future selves and creatively adapting to unfolding worlds.

Saveri Consulting convened a workshop, Readiness Redefined from the inside Out, for a group of 30 independent school educators to discuss the components of a new framework for readiness and its implications for the strategic priorities of their schools. Some highlights include strategic re-framing of the following issues:

  • Technology Integration: Help students partner with digital devices to augment their unique human performance.
  • Social – Emotional Intelligence: Each learning experience should contribute to building a strong inner, core self.
  • College: It’s a part of the journey, not the final destination.


Technology Integration: Help students develop more purposeful and intentional relationships with digital devices to augment their unique human performance.

Advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and other forms of automation are leading to a rise in smart machines that will increasingly perform tasks that people carry out today. Once limited to performing routine, cognitive tasks (such as finding the lowest price or filing a claim) smart machines are getting better at performing non-routine, cognitive tasks (such as writing a quarterly earnings report or driving an autonomous vehicle). This shift toward more complex cognitive tasks will reshape the workplace and have profound impacts on middle class and professional jobs.  Employers are rationalizing how to deploy technology and human contributions based on what each does best.

Rationale for Reconfiguring Jobs with Digital Technologies 

Technology implementation strategies should be designed to support students in performing complex cognitive work, rather than routine tasks. The economy will value individuals who demonstrate the ability to augment and leverage their unique human capabilities (creativity, persuasion, interpersonal relating, intuition, decision-making) through highly productive partnerships with powerful digital tools.

Schools need to focus on helping students become the best humans they can be in an increasingly technology-mediated world. This means helping students learn how to relate with technology in ways that augment their performance and fulfill their purpose as high-valued, human contributors. Students will need to be able to identify and harness the distinct technical capabilities of digital tools to help them achieve operational goals, such as increasing efficiency, reducing risk, and fulfilling mission critical objectives. They will need to learn how to intentionally select and partner with digital devices and robots in collaborative efforts that expand their knowledge, insight, and impact.  And they will need to learn when and how to defer to AI and algorithms, and cede control of decisions, when digital computing and processing can outstrip human capacities.  The ability to form such a range of human-machine relationships will be important for future student success at work and in navigating social and civic institutions.

Implications for schools:

Technology strategy should expose students to a variety of human – machine relationships that augment their performance.  Schools need to examine carefully how their technology integration strategies help students develop various relationships with digital technologies that accelerate and expand their performance.  Engagement with digital devices, robotics, software and algorithms should focus on helping students learn how to harness and apply powerful computation to achieve goals, to partner with technology in collaborative efforts that amplify human capacities, and to defer to computationally-based judgments and decisions.  Students should learn how to select and apply digital tools, forming diverse   relationships that support their personal, academic, and social development.  What kinds of productive relationships do your students have with digital tools? How is the technology shaping the way students at your school think deeply, create novelty, relate with others, and reflect on their work and relationships?

Focus on computational thinking. STEM/STEAM programs should focus on helping students learn foundational problem discovery and solving skills, computational thinking, and not focus primarily coding which will be increasingly automated. Computational thinking involves four key techniques: problem decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, and algorithms. As educator Shuchi Grover suggests, these techniques can be integrated across subject matter and don’t necessarily require use of a computer. How well are the components of computational thinking embedded and integrated across various subject matter and learning experiences at your school?

Social – Emotional Intelligence: Each learning experience should contribute to building a strong inner, core self.

Foundational social-emotional skills and practices — individual awareness, social awareness, and self-discovery — are the engines of personal and professional growth, as well as essential contributors to wellbeing. Students will need to develop a strong social and emotional core to thrive in a future characterized by rapid technology-driven change; digital automation and augmentation; and globally connected markets and cultures. This foundation is essential for mastering many cognitive and meta-cognitive practices that facilitate success in the emerging workplace — such as navigating uncertainty, creating inclusive communities, self-advocacy, and creative thinking.

The recent report by KnowledgeWorks Foundation describes a framework for developing foundational skills and practices to help graduates leverage their unique human attributes in a world of increasing AI. The framework assumes a much larger vision, role, and curricular scope for social-emotional learning beyond discrete tools such as meditation or breathing practices. While these tools may be beneficial they are not sufficient for developing the full range of emotion-based skills necessary to manage the complexity and volatility of future social, civic, and professional life.

Millennial workers today rely on their capacities for individual awareness, social awareness, and continual self discovery to succeed in life and at work. These foundational capabilities will be increasingly important in the future.

I had no guidance other than ‘Go figure it out.’ What makes you a valuable employee is the ability to champion something that you aren’t necessarily comfortable with and succeed outside your comfort zone.”

Senior software engineer, Digital Music Company, KWF interview.


Confidence is important. Not just confidence in what you know, but confidence about what you don’t know. Being able to say, ‘I haven’t done this before, I have no idea, but I am going to figure it out.’”                                                                                                     Mobile engineering manager, Cognitive Game Company, KWF interview.


Successful graduates will need a fine tuned internal compass of emotion skills to drive their aspirations, assess their situations and choices, and guide behaviors in ways that propel them forward on learning journeys.

Implications for schools:

Social – emotional learning needs to be at the center of academic programs and school community life. Students will benefit most when they are immersed in a school community that values and teaches emotional intelligence as a core curricular component rather than an add-on activity. This means teachers and parents should learn, practice, and model emotion skills. Students are more likely to achieve their goals if they learn how to recognize the ways their emotions shape their thinking, relationships, and behaviors and how to harness them in order to develop more positive social and academic outcomes. These stories from schools implementing the RULER program, developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, demonstrate how an entire school community can become involved in building its emotional intelligence. Does your school approach SEL as an added enrichment or as a central component of student learning? Is SEL programming exclusively for students or does it include the entire school community? How might roles such as advisors, mentors, coaches, and wellness directors help promote social-emotional intelligence?

Robust SEL curriculum is agnostic to subject matter. SEL learning can be integrated across curriculum and incorporated into classroom and school-wide rituals and activities. Whether in literature or through collaborative math projects, students can practice their emotion skills and begin to use them as foundational elements in their academic and social growth. Teachers can facilitate this process by modeling social-emotional skills and by providing opportunities for students to use and reflect on these skills. How does your school integrate skills-based social emotional learning across its curriculum and school community? How might it be a through line across learning experiences at your school?

College: It’s a part of the journey, not the final destination.

College admission has become the de-facto goal of K12 education, narrowing the definition of, and metrics for, student success. The result is increased pressure on students to conform to a prescriptive high school path and one standard of success. The Stanford University based organization Challenge Success argues that, “society has become too focused on grades, test scores, and performance, leaving little time for kids to develop the necessary skills to become resilient, ethical, and motivated learners.” By focusing on college as ultimate destination, rather than part of the process of a longer journey, students lose the agency to create their own authentic narratives of success. And college becomes another stressful requirement to satisfy that is making students sick rather than a platform to learn the skills and practices to engage in emerging opportunities, explore unknowns, and take risks to build meaningful, healthy lives. Such practices are critical for success in a world of AI that is rapidly transforming the role of human contribution at work and in civic life.

Implications for schools:

Take college off the track. College preparation and counseling tend to place students on a tightly prescribed track of coursework, testing, and extracurricular activities. It is easy for students to lose their authentic ambitions and aspirations in the high pressured world of college admission standardized tests, low acceptance rates, and competition for financial aid. It appears to students that there is only one way to successfully progress after high school and college. Gap years have had some success in presenting alternatives, but more diverse post-secondary pathways would be even better. Shifting to a concept of building personal and professional development webs frames college and career options as more organic, abundant, and meaningful. As Kurt Fischer states, “There are no ladders. Instead, each one of us has our own web of development, where each new step we take opens up a whole new range of possibilities that unfold according to our individuality.” How are post-secondary options and pathways discussed and valued at your school? How well does your school prepare graduates to have agency in their lives and develop their own webs of resources and relationships for personal and professional development?

Extend the timeline beyond college and first job. Students today will be continuously learning, re-skilling, and creating their jobs and roles across industrial and professional ecosystems. Developing a big picture of work, civic life, and aspirational goals will help students create and seize opportunities. Personal and professional visioning, mentors, and apprenticeships can help students imagine and try out future selves. For one young millennial worker, her aspiration to help entrepreneurs has catalyzed her agency and motivation to take responsibility for her professional development, training needs, and job choices.

Giving me the time to really think about what I was passionate about has allowed me to keep that guiding light of ‘I like helping entrepreneurs.’ This is what I enjoy doing. That’s why I’m in a position today where I love what I do and so I’m lucky in that way.” Marketing team member, Crowdfunding company, KWF Interview.

Schools could help students think longer term about their lives by helping them connect with people at various stages of their work lives and hearing their personal and professional development stories. Roadtrip Nation offers one example of this type of future work-life visioning. What opportunities do your students have to explore their future personal and professional selves through mentors, apprentices, job shadowing, visioning, and passion projects? How porous are the boundaries for your school community with the larger community and “real world” issues and events?


School leaders who stimulate open discussions about these three issues with their administration, faculty, parents, and students will begin to develop a shared vision of how their school can support meaningful student success in a rapidly changing world.

Reframing Education for the Long Now: Education as Intellectual Infrastructure

Long Now Educators Workshop, August 01, 02017.

This article was previously posted on Medium. It is Part Two of a four-part series, Reframing Education for the Long Now, based on insights from the Long Now Educators Workshop on August 1, 02017, hosted by the Long Now Foundation and KnowledgeWorks Foundation.

Looking at education through the lens of the pace layer framework provides several insights about the dynamic of education as intellectual infrastructure in the U.S., and where long-term transformation might emerge. In The Clock of the Long Now (01999), Stewart Brand describes education as intellectual infrastructure, situating it in the middle of the pace layers.

The Pace Layers diagram at Long Now Educators workshop, August 1, 02017.

There it is bracketed by the turbulent, questioning, and disruptive forces of fashion and commerce on one side, and by the stabilizing constraints and forces of constancy and preservation from governance, culture, and nature on the other. In this middle pace layer position, infrastructure is capable of moderately-paced change — which should be measured in decades. As a form of intellectual infrastructure, education is well-positioned to take advantage of both the rapid testing of new ideas and approaches from the fast layers and the ability of the slower layers to purposefully integrate selected, meaningful disruptions.

As intellectual infrastructure, education represents society’s approach to developing its future generations with the purpose of ensuring its sustainability. It is society’s platform for developing its people — its human creativity and acumen—which in turn feeds the faster layers of fashion and commerce and supports the stability of slower layers of governance, culture, and nature.

The challenge of education as society’s intellectual infrastructure is to provide reliability and effectiveness to its constituents. That means being receptive to the propositions from fashion-art and commerce layers, even sometimes encouraging disruption and shock, while also seeking continuity and holding to society’s deeper values and principles. Any form of infrastructure requires large investment to do its job well, producing high but delayed payout over future decades. As Brand reminds us, societies need to be able to span these delays of payout and reward:

Hasty societies that cannot span these delays will lose out over time to societies that can. On the other hand, cultures too hidebound to allow education to advance at an infrastructural pace also lose out.

— Stewart Brand, The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility (01999).

This is the delicate dance of education as intellectual infrastructure: to cultivate societal patience in order to set innovation free and to use deep purpose to filter and integrate disruptive propositions in ways that make education more relevant to new societal circumstances.

The Effectiveness of the Slow Layers for Education Transformation in Finland

Finland seems to be striking this balance well, with culture and governance acting in partnership with educators to guide and evaluate innovation in schools at a steady pace. Its current adaptive innovation is intended to enable more fluid, integrated learning. That approach combines open-space layouts for learning environments with multi-age learning cohorts and the elimination of rigid disciplinary boundaries between subjects.

A Finnish school. Source: Kuvatoimisto Kuvio Oy

The approach is built on trusting educators and students. It allows teachers to drive curriculum, rather than follow a standard set curriculum. The benefit is the ability to effectively create ways to integrate competency development freely across subject matter and collaborate across grade levels to create higher-level thinking and multidisciplinary learning experiences. Students navigate physical spaces and social groupings to support their own learning. To effectively implement and achieve the benefits of this innovation, Finnish educators have broader society’s trust.

The kind of freedom Finnish teachers enjoy comes from the underlying faith the culture puts in them from the start, and it’s the exact kind of faith American teachers lack.

—Chris Weller, Business Insider

Operating at the infrastructure pace layer, Finnish teachers drive change in the education system with the support of the culture layer and enabling structures established by the governance layer. In the U.S., the culture layer has become fragmented with competing narratives about the value and purpose of education creating churn at the infrastructure layer that the governance layer struggles to help manage.

Pace Layer Tensions in U.S. Public Education

Change in public education in the U.S. is strongly shaped by the dynamics of the commerce layer, with market values, business rationales, and global economic imperatives shaping education decision-making. Commerce is rapidly introducing new educational technologies and pedagogical approaches at a pace that outstrips the capacity of other layers to engage effectively and exert their influence. This dominance of the commerce layer has been recasting education with language, values, and purpose that serve commerce stakeholders — business interests — but not society at large. The result has been a shift form treating education as the public service it should be to treating it as a market good.

Exacerbating this imbalance, accelerating technological change has created flux at each pace layer and has heightened uncertainty about the future.

Long Now Educators Workshop, August 01, 02017.

Workshop discussion about the impact of an unchecked commerce layer on education included the following insights:

The market determines the value of education. Both hyperconnected global markets and increasing automation and digital augmentation are challenging established economic and business models, the structure of organizations, the notion of work, employment patterns, and even the nature of what it means to be human. The cultural narrative emerging from this context is that people are human capital — an asset whose value is determined by the market. Our societal definitions of success and how we determine student readiness to navigate society have become tightly tethered to the global market. Education critics have written about the link between the origins of compulsory education and the factory model school with the needs of early industrial society, so this link is not necessarily new. The challenge is whether the purpose of education continues to be narrowly evaluated in terms of serving the requirements of commerce rather than broader societal needs, such as the needs to support pluralistic society, democracy, and a sustainable planet.

“Solutionism” shortens the time frame and scope of reform. The education technology sector has grown rapidly, shaping the process, language and expectations of education reform. The ed tech rationale argues that the way to “fix” education is to configure the right suite of applications and devices without much concern or understanding for the root causes of education’s most pressing challenges such as achievement gaps, inequity, teacher support and professional development, and student engagement. The language and process common in Silicon Valley of “solutionism”—promising quick fixes, profitable return-on-investment, and scalability—has a stronger role in guiding decisions about education investment. Solutionism has permeated the education reform space in ways that has shifted mindsets and expectations about the timeframe and scope of change. Linking such activities to longer and slower processes of transformation in the governance and culture layers is lacking.

Mismatched metrics. The spillover effect of technological solutionism is that the expectation for change is measured in months and years rather than in decades. While it may be appropriate to measure reading and mathematics performance yearly (or more often), measuring social and behavioral practices and cultural shifts in meaningful ways takes longer and require metrics that span years and decades. Carol Dweck, the pioneer of the popular “growth vs fixed mindset” concept, has written articles and changed her book to warn against the “the false growth mindset” to counter simplified, shortcut, ineffective implementations of her concept. She reported that teachers were not able or willing to commit to the longer time frame to integrate fully and develop the growth mindset practice in their classrooms. The allure of quick solutions is that they make us think that there are immediate outcomes.

Implications for Long-Term Change

While the commerce layer seems to drive decision-making and innovation in education in inappropriate ways today, this pace layer does do well at absorbing disruptions and responding quickly to immediate needs. A challenge for education decision-makers today is to find ways to better harness commerce to provide a more equitable system and one whose purpose serves broader society. The venerable Peter Drucker reminds us about the link between the tension of short- and long-term interests:

“Building around mission and solutions is the only way to integrate shorter-term interest.” — Peter Drucker

Brand also warns that any meaningful long-term change will need to integrate the slow layers of culture and governance.

Source: NASA

In the current education narrative, nature is largely left out as a significant influence. However, this layer may provide inspiration for reframing education and designing interventions across the pace layers to shape a new purpose for education that speaks to our collective humanity, global interconnectedness, and shared responsibility to steward our delicate relationship with nature.

The earth photo from the moon showed that national solutions were not sufficient to solve global ecological challenges. Education solutions may also need to transcend national borders, taking their cues from a globally interconnected and planetary context.

The next blog post in this series will explore the possibilities for leveraging pace layer strategies to create system change in education.

A New Vision for Education: From Career to Creative Life

Education stakeholders currently share a common vision of preparing students for career and life. However, the transformation of work driven by accelerating technologies is challenging our understanding of readiness and the very nature of career itself. Indeed, as digitally automated and augmented work diffuses across industries and reshapes the productive contributions of humans, traditional notions of career may actually limit opportunities for success. Rather, a more robust process of cultivating a creative life may be more effective in helping students develop the capabilities, motivation, and self efficacy to thrive in the emerging era of smart machines. Educators, counselors, parents, and other stakeholders would benefit from an understanding of the shift from career to creative life in order to effectively support students for long-term well-being and success in the future.

The Need for Passion and Creativity at Work

The rise of smart machines, global production networks, and technological acceleration are transforming the work landscape. Technological job displacement through automation is widely accepted, yet the pace and scope of its impact are still unfolding. A University of Oxford study reports that 47% of current US middle class jobs are at risk due to automation over the next twenty years. While the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that 45% of the activities that workers do today could be computerized. Others forecast that technology will redefine work and create new jobs rather than destroy them.

Central to the evolution of jobs and meaningful productive work in the future will be the demand for human creativity, curiosity, imagination, and emotional intelligence. Indeed a key element of success in an innovation-driven economy is the ability to leverage human passion and imagination in the pursuit of new ideas and possibilities. Supporting and amplifying these uniquely human capabilities will bring success and competitive advantage to organizations across industries. And as smart machines perform more cognitive, “knowledge work” tasks, these human super powers will be critical for a fruitful professional and personal life. As John Hagel, co-chair for Deloitte’s Center for the Edge advises,

Find a passion. Find something you’re really, really passionate about, and don’t stop until you find it. Once you find it, find a way to make a living out of it because that’s the only way you’re going to thrive in the new world.

In the emerging work environment, the productive individual is a creative producer of original ideas and approaches, building a portfolio of work that is the unique personal and professional signature of the individual. This means more than cultivating a personal brand. It means discovering and developing an expression of the individual’s creative identity applied to the problems and challenges of her broader productive community.

As automation permeates work, the uniquely human meta-cognitive strengths will form the basis of new jobs, work projects, and lifelong productive pursuits. Educational institutions (including those serving K12, postsecondary, and higher education students, and lifelong learners) will need to prioritize and re-orient around two insights:

  • Effective educational preparation and readiness will need to prioritize its focus on the development of a strong human social-emotional core and self-concept to provide an engine for curiosity, creativity, lifelong learning, positive relationship building, and resilience; and
  • Career development processes and supports will need to shift from an external orientation based on short-term market needs and static job requirements to a focus on cultivating a creative life.

These two insights are critical guiding principles for educators as they design learning experiences and programs intended to prepare students for long-term success in an increasingly automated world.

A Social-Emotional Core for Readiness

An effective readiness approach for the emerging world of work will be built on a strong inner social-emotional core. As described by the KnowledgeWorks Foundation in Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out,  attending to the fundamental human capabilities of self discovery, individual awareness (emotional regulation) and social awareness (perspective taking and empathy) is essential to effective progress  in other foundational cognitive and meta-cognitive capabilities that are critical to the emerging world of digitally automated and augmented work.  Failure to address and develop the fundamental human capabilities will constrain success and well-being in the future world of work.

Among foundational practices (see figure above), problem-solving, thinking differently, creating with numbers, making friends with people and machines are critical capabilities for creative production and innovation. These capabilities draw heavily on a deep sense of self and resilience that grow from skilled awareness, understanding, regulation, and management of human emotions. Individuals without these skills will not be able to weather the rapid change and volatility of the workplace. They will struggle to effectively respond to the imperative to build productive relationships and maintain the agility and motivation to learn.

A Focus on Cultivating a Creative Life

While automation is elevating the importance of bringing uniquely human capabilities to work, it also is disaggregating work from institutions causing it to become distributed across online markets and platforms. Employment will be increasingly arranged, evaluated, and coordinated by algorithms enabling the growth of online talent platforms, contingent work contracts, algorithmically managed project-based work, and professional nomadism. In the context of fragmented employment and projects, how might individuals construct a narrative of their professional lives and make choices that contribute to a fulfilled life?

The desire to learn and continue on a journey of self development will propel successful individuals through the job and work choices of the emerging era of work. Individual initiative and self efficacy will be essential for building coherent work strategies through potentially turbulent and rapidly changing employment environments. The traditional notion of career — with its predetermined, linear path of work and codified skill development — is not robust enough to help to organize a professional life. Likewise, most career management models are aligned to industrial era work and are not sufficient for the kinds of personal and professional development necessary to be successful in a creativity and passion driven economy.

The table below describes the shift from managing traditional careers of the industrial era to cultivating creative lives in an era where human contribution at work is derived from imagination and creativity.

Source: Saveri Consulting, 2017; derived from Marc Zegans, Arc and Interruption

Strategic Implications for Educators

Education leaders have an opportunity to re-examine their school models, programs, services, and learner experiences to understand how they might support their students in developing a creative life in the rapidly emerging world of smart machines and digitally automated and augmented work. Specifically, educators should identify and focus on ways to support students in developing a robust self-concept with tools and capabilities necessary for professional creative production and practice.

Below are some opportunity areas to consider for supporting students in developing a creative life, with examples of current programs and initiatives.

Help students build robust inner selves
Schools that fully integrate social-emotional learning across curriculum and school community life will provide students daily practice in building and integrating essential emotion management skills. This will help students recognize and appreciate emotion management as a core tool for self care, creative engagement, and identity development as they encounter the joys and challenges of learning in a socially dynamic school community. Comprehensive social-emotional curriculum programs such as the RULER program and other CASEL programs are evidence based programs that work with educators to develop their social-emotional skills and implement curriculum into preK-12 classrooms and after school programs.

Develop multidisciplinary, thematic learning that drives self-examination
Creative production emerges from discovery, uncertainty, conflict, challenge, emotion, and expressive desire. To develop their creative thinking, expression, and problem solving capabilities students need to engage in relatable experiences and real world issues. Particularly in middle and high school years, they need to care and be activated by real world phenomena that spark awe, compassion, outrage, and joy. With greater self-discovery students will find passions that direct their creative energy and learning.
Schools such as SF BrightWorks, Tahoe Expedition Academy, Big Picture Learning, and Finland’s approach to phenomenological learning are examples of multidisciplinary, thematic, learner-centric education that puts individual student discovery and sense-making at the center.

Develop assessment frameworks that reveal uniqueness not averages
Most students experience assessments as competitive comparisons with their peers that highlight their deficits. Report cards and transcripts focus on reporting average and reductive scores (GPA, SAT, ACT) rather than unique strengths, experiences, and possible future directions as a creative individual and learner. The Mastery Transcript initiative is a collective of high schools collaborating to develop an alternative model of assessment, crediting and transcript generation that serves students by creating a unique, visual graphic that illustrates a student’s individual learning, growth, and experiences. Students demonstrate their mastery of skills, knowledge and habits of mind by presenting evidence of their work that is institutionally assessed. The electronic Transcript allows college admissions, counselors, parents, or students themselves to click through any part of the graphic transcript to get a deeper story about the individual student’s body of work. The Mastery Transcript has the potential to shift a student’s school experience (and college admissions) toward more authentic engagement around and discussion of a her personal development and expression as a learner and creative thinker in the world.

Support teachers as creative designers
Teachers create learning experiences, inquiry-based project engagements, social and emotional climates in their classrooms, and various growth opportunities for their students every day. As creators and designers, they are important role models for their students. Teacher professional development and training should shift toward supporting their growth as creative designers of social-emotional, academic, and community/civic experiences. ISKME’s Action Collab program and the Teachers Guild are dedicated to developing the capacity of teachers as creative designers and innovators by offering training and a peer community for user-centered design and problem-solving techniques that they can bring back to their schools and classrooms.

Refocus teacher preparation programs on human development
Teacher training institutions need to re-examine their programmatic approaches and priorities to ensure that new teachers gain a meaningful understanding of the shift to the emerging era of digital automation and its implications for human learning and ongoing self-development. With this background they will be able to design learning experiences, assessments, and communities that best support student wellbeing in the future. Specifically, new teachers should be well equipped with social-emotional intelligence skills. It will be necessary for them to create appropriate and productive emotional climates in their classrooms and apply emotion-based skills to manage their own professional practice as well as guide students through their social-emotional self-development. A recent CASEL study shows that SEL is lacking in most teacher certification policies and in the coursework of colleges for teacher education. In particular, they note that teacher self-awareness and self-management skills could potentially contribute to improving the rate of teacher burnout.

These are just a few concrete examples of the ways that schools can begin to support students as creative producers in an increasingly automated world. School senior administrators, principals, trustees, and school boards should consider the shift from career to creative life in their strategic planning, communications, and marketing efforts to ensure their schools are aligned with the future of work and professional life.

To learn more about the implications of Redefining Readiness for your school or organization’s strategy, and the rise of creative production click here.