Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What matters in the job market?

I work at a very competitive high school half of my week. Students, parents, and teachers vie to get into USA Today's top-rated colleges. In fact, it is so competitive that some resort to cheating and less ethical measures to ensure top placement. As I look around, I know the students here have great potential. However, at times, I wonder if we are guiding them wrongly.

Should we be preparing them to get into the Harvards and Yales of the world or should we be preparing them to innovate - to have skills of leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn? If they don't get into the top ranked college or graduate top of their class, but have the ability to innovate, will they not be employable? I argue the opposite.

In fact, companies like Google look for those who know how to apply what they have learned. Though a degree from a great college may show well, the longevity of someone's career depends on how well they can apply what they know, how well they can work as part of a team, how well they can learn and relearn, how adaptable they are, and how they can innovate.

Though this is part of the larger - how do we grade students - debate, I feel it is essential to better preparing our students and better creating a work force that produces change. In the meantime, check out this NY Times article on "How to Get a Job at Google." In particular, refer to the last paragraph - how can we apply that to technology integration and student learning?

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