Last year, The World Economic Forum released their list of the ten skills you need to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution. The idea is to aim our focus forward, by way of skills, so we can be ready and capable to take on the future. Naturally, I wanted to look at technology and lay out how we can use the new technology coming our way, to advance these skills more efficiently.

Adding AR to Our Curriculum

The one thing schools should be equipping their students with, is advanced technology, and specifically AR. We all talk about this technology for adults, and how we can use it to make our lives better, but what about students? Didn't someone famous once say, "the children are our future?" Why reserve the good stuff for you and I, when we could be using it to grow efficient and capable future leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs?

Darya Yegorina, Founder of Cleverbooks spends her time traveling the world and attending events like the AR/VR Summit in Ireland, the Innovative Schools Summit in Atlanta, the Global Female Leaders Summit in Berlin, or the EdTech X London, where she talks about Emerging Technologies in Education. Luckily, I was able to catch up with her in-between all of that globe-trotting, because I knew she was the right person to offer a second opinion on how we could use AR for good.

AR Is the Safe Option

For a lot of the emerging technology we are seeing today, there are extra parts required. AR is a standalone when it comes to this. You can experience applications on devices you (more than likely) already own. So the barrier to entry is low, making it most cost effective and realistic when applied to education, and it's fast. Psychologically (and physically), AR is also a safer option for students, which takes a lot of the most common concerns right out of the equation.

85% of today's jobs won't exist in 2030

- World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs Report

Applying AR to Skills

So back to the list from the World Economic Forum on the necessary skills for the future. Darya Yegorina and I narrowed this list down to five non-negotiable skills we all need for the future business economy, and how AR can make us more efficient in each category.

  1. Complex Problem Solving. I think it's important to point out that innovation doesn't happen without this skill. Machines, AI, they can't do this yet, but we need this to move forward. With AR, the applications are endless, because students can experience tasks where they need to strengthen and apply this skill, whereas, a "lesson" on learning this skill certainly doesn't carry the same weight or efficacy. In the future, we will have to know how to disassemble complex problems, in unknown territories, if we wish to keep up. AR allows us to experience "mock" problems, to gather experiences, sometimes simultaneously, we might not have had otherwise.
  2. Critical Thinking + Creativity. The push for STEM in schools has actually brought more creativity back in, and in new and different ways. AR will allow us to enhance reality, to find new ways to be creative or think outside of the box. These skills are grouped together because they are complementary, and lend to one another's effectiveness.
  3. People Management + Coordinating With Others. In the past, this might have been called team building, but no matter what we call this skill, we cannot deny the importance of people skills. Team building and coordination with AR is fun, exciting, and allows students to interact in many different ways day-to-day. The opportunity to accelerate these experiences, earlier in life, is one of the most overlooked opportunities we have with AR.
  4. Judgement + Decision Making. Students need to learn to be comfortable making decisions, exercising their own judgment, to become reliable and efficient in these skills. Unfortunately, it is true, that a lot of students never get the opportunity to do this until they are immersed in a career or the business economy. Imagine, with AR, that students can see different 3D shapes, and must decide which ones they will build a wall with (not a political joke, an actual learning experience). Their decision making, through trial and error, will become stronger as they learn, in a safe way, to think strategically, to look at the complexities of situations and tasks, and to attempt to understand first, and act second.
  5. Negotiation. Negotiation is the foundation for any person in business, or really, any person who interacts with other people. Because, without this skill, we are left to the negotiations of everyone around us. Being able to articulate our opinions, abilities, thoughts, needs, products, offerings, and so on, this is foundational to life. Much like the above description, AR can attach tasks to specifically enhance this skill in students. What lesson plan are you aware of that can efficiently do this, across the board? This is another instance where the technology in front of us should be our go to for interactive lessons, fostering curiosity, enriched storytelling and focus, increased sensory development, and so much more.

Leave the Education Stone Age, Enter This New Learning Reality

Imagine the benefits to our students, if they could use AR to gain experiences over lesson plans. Imagine the benefits to their minds, and their ability to use their minds, to shape the future they want to see. Imagine the possibilities, if we equipped our students with the capabilities to, not only see opportunity, but also create it. These are the real possibilities, if we are willing to embrace the technological future ahead of us, and give our kids the tools and skills they will need to do the same.

Published on: Apr 23, 2018