The skills students will need to get jobs in 2020

To prepare students for the 2020 job market, teach them to be digital storytellers, writes Dian Schaffhauser for Campus Technology.

As automation changes the labor market, the ability to creatively and thoughtfully engage with technology will become paramount, report two recent studies.

The first study, from the World Economic Forum (WEF), surveyed senior talent and strategy officers from 371 companies across nine industry sectors and 15 developed and emerging economies.

WEF predicts that about a third of the top 10 skills identified in 2015 will have changed by 2020. The top three skills requested will be complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity, reports the study.

Similarly, the New Media Consortium's (NMC) recent report on the use of media and technology in learning found that students will need a mix of technical skills, creativity, and complex thinking to compete in the future job market. The researchers surveyed hundreds of NMC members, which includes employees at colleges, museums, and research centers.

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Many colleges are already cultivating this skill set in their digital literacy programs, writes Schaffhauser.

For example, the University of Pennsylvania currently offers students a workshop on producing and distributing digital media legally, reports NMC. 

While there are numerous frameworks to teach digital literacy, the most common components include critical thinking, technical skills, content creation, and copyright law, according to NMC.

Preparing students for the 2020 job market calls for aggressive integration of digital literacy skills into the curriculum, argues Shalina Chatlani for Education Dive.

And although it may be tempting to assume that all students are digital natives, many will arrive on campus with different levels of technical skills, write Judith Bailey and David Santandreu Calonge from the University of Adelaide.

Schaffhauser also warns against taking a one-size-fits-all approach to implementing these programs. Instead, recognize that a humanities department and a computer science department will define digital literacy differently, she writes.

As technology transforms both our classroom and workforce, administrators must takes steps now to ensure that their graduates are entering the workforce with skills that will still be relevant in 2020, notes Chatlani (Chatlani, Education Dive, 9/7; Schaffhauser, Campus Technology, 9/7).

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