Friday, 28 June 2013

Global fluency and the need for 21st Century skills

I keep reading articles full of alarmist rhetoric such as 'Higher Education is broken', or that 'An Avalanche is Coming'. Following a recent visit to the Google and Hewlett-Packard campuses in Palo Alto I'm beginning to understand why.

As a member of the International Microsummits delegation, the aim of the visit was to discuss how the needs of Business, Education and Government could be aligned more coherently. We were fortunate enough to meet with Jim Vanides, Educational Programme Manager for Hewlett-Packard, whose work on STEMx education is gaining traction in both educational and business spheres. Jim believes that the current focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is too narrow and risks depriving students of the skills that they really need to be successful graduates. Amongst others, these skills include:

  • Global Fluency
  • Global Citizenship
  • Digital Literacy
  • Collaboration
  • Knowledge Management
  • Community Management
  • Connected Leadership

Adapting a model found on the Langwitches blog, I'm trying to unpick the notion of Global Fluency and what it means for Higher Education in terms of skills and literacies (this is a work in progress):




Harold Jarche makes a strong case that in the new world of work the network is the solution. Business and the global economy need workers, managers and leaders who can organise information and work collaboratively to find rapid solutions to complex problems. Higher Education has a clear responsibility to equip students with the necessary skills. This can be achieved without universities simply becoming training institutions, but curriculum development needs to clearly articulate where these skills are being taught during a programme of learning. 

It's a win-win: students can see more clearly how their investment will prepare them for the new world of work, and Higher Ed can respond to criticisms that it is not adapting to the shifting demands of the global workplace.

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