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Deeper Learning Digest: The Jobs/Skills Mismatch

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August 15, 2014 03:31 pm

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The ‘Deeper Learning Digest’ is a bi-weekly roundup of articles, blog posts, and other content around deeper learning. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed to stay up-to-date on all deeper learning news. And please be sure to follow @deeperlearning on Twitter for more on #deeperlearning.

In this week’s Deeper Learning Digest, we focus on the current mismatch between the skills that employers are seeking and the skills—or lack thereof—that many of today’s job applicants possess. Our first two bloggers reference recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finding that over 9.7 million Americans were unemployed in July while nearly 5 million jobs in the U.S. were currently going unfilled.

In a post for Education Week’s “Learning Deeply” blog, Ben Kornell, Chief Operations Officer of Envision Education, writes about his experience in a previous job at DaVita, a Fortune 500 healthcare company, where he hired individuals who could assess data, dynamically problem-solve, and collaborate with the team—even though the position was an entry-level one. “In a healthcare emergency, you need a leader in the clinic who can take and support decisive action to save lives,” he explains. “Additionally, we wanted to invest precious training time in those with the potential to become future managers and leaders.”

And writing for re/code, Tom Joseph, Senior Director of Worldwide Education at Autodesk, an American multinational software corporation, argues the U.S. must close the gap between employers’ expectations and applicants’ skills if the U.S. is to stay on the leading edge of the global economy. He offers the exemplar provided by Swanson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia, where eighth graders use professional, cloud-based design software to design and 3-D print an assistive device. “If these students are already designing devices like this in the eighth grade, imagine what they’ll be able to create down the road,” he writes. “Yet, if they aren’t learning how to collaborate, think critically, communicate effectively and work independently across all their subjects, even their advanced design experience may not be enough to make them successful and engaged employees.”

In his blog, Kornell offers point on which he and Joseph can surely agree: “With the economic recovery stifled by a low-capability workforce, the deeper learning approach is not just an ideal: it is an imperative,” he writes.

So, what is the deeper learning approach and what does it look like? I could tell you, but it’s much easier to understand if you see it for yourself. To that end, check out “Defense: Where a Graduate Makes Her Case,” in which Justin Wells, Director of Partnerships for Envision Learning Partners, describes and provides video evidence of a “defense,” the culminating performance assessment that students must pass before they graduate from high school.

Other Deeper Learning Highlights:

To learn how students’ interests can help inform curriculum, read “Voice and Choice in the Classroom” by Anthony Conwright, a humanities teacher at High Tech Middle Media Arts in San Diego.

Using Problem-Based Learning to Foster Self-Direct Learning by Aubrey Golightly, Associate Professor and Head of the Office for Professional Development in the Faculty of Education Sciences of the Potchefstroom campus of the North-West University, South Africa.

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Deeper Learning Digest

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