How Should We Educate Children to Win the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

by Arlen Meyers

If for nothing else than the future of your children, take 12 minutes to watch this:

If you agree, then thriving in the fourth industrial revolution will require nothing short of restructuring public education at all levels, not just K-12. Even doctors will need to change how they educate their young. How many things can you do with a paperclip?

Many not-for-profits are directing their efforts to provide equitable access to public education. However, putting more students in a broken, dysfunctional system won’t yield the outcomes and impact we want. Instead, the very structure and process of education will need to change if we are to provide students with the knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies they need for jobs that have yet to be created.

What’s more, unless we address the gender social and cultural stereotypes, the 4IR could make gender inequity worse, not better.

One goal should be to create entrepreneurial schools and universities, and by that I don’t mean teaching children how to start businesses. Instead, creating the entrepreneurial mindset is about the pursuit of opportunity with scarce resources with the goal of creating user defined value through the deployment of innovation. Creating a successful business is but one of many ways to do that.

Here are 10 different ways to encourage youth entrepreneurship. The same techniques might apply to graduate students as well.

Other learning objective and curriculum themes are emerging:

  1. Encouraging private, public and academic collaboration to define market-based competencies
  2. Teaching horizontally, not vertically, in limiting smokestack domains
  3. Developing soft skills that are in high demand
  4. Experience cultural competence
  5. Alternative pathways for teacher training and development
  6. Job searching techniques that are state-of-the-art
  7. Mandatory experiential learning opportunities
  8. Developing and testing alternative intelligence measures
  9. Replacing memorization with creative problem-solving, problem seeking and divergent thinking.
  10. Hiring for creativity and finding and supporting educational reform champions
  11. Like sick care, recognizing and addressing the socioeconomic determinants of academic failure, like housing, illness, disability and nutrition.
  12. Rehabilitating the brand image of teachers

Here is Dan Pink explaining how motivation will have to replace extrinsic motivation – autonomy, mastery, purpose:

Here is how automation may affect economies around the world.

Our economy and standard of living hinges on meeting these wicked challenges. But, like medicine, government and other risk-averse and sclerotic industries, the resistance to change will be substantial. Only bottom-up pressure led by creative, courageous innovators who practice what they teach will remove the obstacles in our path. Many of those obstacles are in the classroom next door or the corner office.

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Arlen MyersArlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org

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