EducationWorld is pleased to present this article contributed by Mary Fineday, a freelance writer for online publications including OnlineColleges.com. She has worked in teaching, consulting and reporting, and her interests include organizational strategies, leadership and management, and business education.
Technology has taken over the life of the average American student, and many teachers and administrators are struggling to keep up. About two-thirds of students report that technology helps them achieve their academic outcomes, according to a 2012 report from Educause Center for Applied Research, illustrated in this infographic. It’s a high-tech world, and educators who feel like dinosaurs are not alone.
Students, however, might be surprised at the low-tech “dinosaur” skills and habits that can help them get—and keep—their dream jobs. In a world of eBooks and online whiteboards, old-fashioned skills are still important to teach.
On the job, low-tech sometimes beats high-tech
Students are more than the sum of their gadgets. When it comes to real-world job skills, high-tech knowledge isn’t always the last word. Take a look at the following “old-school” skills, along with the tech-friendly methods by which educators can instill them in students.
Dinosaur #1: Writing
Often cited as one of the most important tools in the office, powerful writing and rhetoric skills are threatened by the easy-access writing found in texts and tweets. From the moment a resume hits the HR office, writing makes a big impression on employers.
Dinosaur #2: Communication
Social media offers a powerful communication tool, but face-to-face conversation is an essential tool in any office. Whether you’re working in a lab or planning a run for political office, strong communication skills are important.
Dinosaur #3: Creativity
When it’s simple to re-blog a post on Tumblr, we remove another layer of creative potential from online communication. The nebulous idea of creativity is, however, as important as any college degree.
Dinosaur #4: Working under pressure
When the computer system crashes, workers in any IT department are forced to rely on a skill they might not have learned in school: the ability to thrive under pressure.
Dinosaur #5: Independent thought
Groupthink is no longer a cynical theory on life; it’s a way of life. Educators are fighting to preserve unique thought, and the stakes are high.
Start small and think big
Technology is a way of life in the classroom, but tech-enhanced learning shouldn’t come at the expense of classic skills. Educators can introduce technology into the classroom without relying on it, and remind students that their handwriting and long-division skills just might come into play someday.
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