The 21st Century Voyage

Imagine a world where we say ‘get me to Beijing’ and it happens without lifting a finger. This may sound like a scene from a Sci-Fi movie. Yet during the past century we’ve discovered flight, can talk to anyone around the world in an instant, and can make complex computations with hand held devices. In the 21st Century technology and society are truly intertwined. To highlight a few examples:

  • Automation and robotics are altering the job market
  • Global connectivity is transforming communication
  • Increased energy demands are triggering problems globally

Photo by Christian Hafner © 2016

Our rapidly evolving world makes it tricky to predict our future. Still if we wish the best for our children and students we should ask:

Are our youth ready for the 21st century?

From all the global developments like the ones mentioned above some of the needed skills become evident. The biggest guesswork are likely the milestones when robots can effectively do various tasks/skills. Still here are the skills I predict our youth need in the 21st Century. Making and makerspaces can certainly promote these skills!

Tech Intuition

With the ever-expanding Internet anyone can readily learn about any type of technology. However, finding the best tech solution(s) is a challenge. For example as a programmer you have countless languages to choose from. Even within a coding language there are different ways of executing the same tasks. Due to this I feel it’s important our youth develop a ‘tech intuition’ to quickly choose the right tech solutions and methods.


Communication Evolution

Being globally connected is continuously changing how we communicate. Body language is a key element in face-to-face communication. Yet with text based communication, how can body language be conveyed? Also it seems like social media is shorting our literacy attention span. With shorter messages it’s far easier to develop misunderstandings. Furthermore, as we are globally connected it means a larger mix of languages and cultures. This shows that communication is evolving. With all the complex dynamics it becomes more important than ever for our youth to have strong communication skills.

Globally Minded

Many of the problems we face in the 21st century are global ones. If that’s true we must find ways to work together to solve the problems, right? This means we should develop our collaboration and teamwork skills. It’s my belief we must learn to think ‘this is our problem’ and ‘what should we do?’. For this to happen flawlessly we will have to reconsider what our society values. Can we truly progress with such an immense focus on wealth?


Human Problem Solving

Throughout time we need problem solving for our survival. Technology has made life easier, yet our global problems seem to be growing in scope and complexity. For now artificial intelligence (AI) can aid us, yet it needs to mature before it can handle large problems. Especially when it comes to managing people we continue to prefer a human touch. For global issues we also require emotional intelligence to deal with sensitive cultural differences.

Creativity and Diversity

Surprised to see creativity and diversity together? It’s my strong belief that problem solving needs an extra element to be effective. Creativity seems key in sparking eureka moments. Also, our individual and cultural perspectives provide a plethora of unique solutions. Both for adapting quickly and finding sustainable solutions creativity and diversity play an important role.

Do you believe these skills will prepare our youth for the 21st Century? Only time will tell! As mentioned earlier we can start empowering our youth with these skills through making(link). Let us continue this discussion via Twitter or LinkedIN. You can also share the skills you feel are needed in the 21st Century with the hashtag #bequrious.

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