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7 Survival Skills for Students - Tony Wagner Summarized in Tweets

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Last week I attended the IFC/World Bank international conference on private education – and I’m still inspired by the keynote from Tony Wagner, Expert in Residence at Harvard’s Innovation Lab. His talk was a great launch to the conference theme, “Rethinking Education – Shaping the Future” …and a great reminder of what’s in store for today’s school-aged youth…


Rather than completely reiterate or paraphrase Tony’s keynote, I’ve revisited my notes and crafted below what I would have tweeted, had I not been so spell-bound that I couldn’t type fast enough. So in 140 (or less) characters, here’s what caught my attention:



Today’s (and Tomorrow’s) World of Work Requires New Skills


Work is being transformed; the world doesn't value just what you know, but what you can DO w/what you know - @DrTonyWagner


The longer students are in school, the more bored they are; engagement drops to 4/10 in HS - @DrTonyWagner


7 Survival Skills for Students: 1) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving; knowing how to ask really good questions - @DrTonyWagner


7 Survival Skills for Students: 2) Collaboration across networks & Leading by Influence; a deep appreciation of differences - @DrTonyWagner


7 Survival Skills for Students: 3) Agility & Adaptability; "school" is too predictable - @DrTonyWagner


7 Survival Skills for Students: 4) Initiative & Entrepreneurialism - @DrTonyWagner


7 Survival Skills for Students: 5) effective oral & written Communication; write w/ voice, passion, perspective - @DrTonyWagner


7 Survival Skills for Students: 6) Ability to access & analyze information; search, ask, think, apply - @DrTonyWagner


7 Survival Skills for Students: 7) Curiosity & Imagination - @DrTonyWagner w/ a nod to @DanielPink


7 Survival Skills for Students: there are actually more than 7, eg: the ability to "Just go figure it out" - @DrTonyWagner


There’s a Culture Clash Between “Schooling” and “Innovation”


The skills needed to succeed in Academia often don't align with the skills for today's jobs - @DrTonyWagner


A culture of "schooling" is at odds with a culture of Learning to be an Innovator - @DrTonyWagner


Culture Contradictions: Individual Achievement (school) v. Teamwork - @DrTonyWagner


Culture Contradictions: Compartmentalized knowledge (school) v. innovation happens at the margins - @DrTonyWagner


Culture Contradictions: Passive consumption (school) v. real-time knowledge to solve real problems - @DrTonyWagner


Culture Contradictions: Failure is the worst thing that happens (school) v. Innovation demands risk & iteration - @DrTonyWagner


Culture Contradictions: Grades for extrinsic motivation (school) v. intrinsic motivation to make a difference - @DrTonyWagner


A degree + debt and no job = BArista - @DrTonyWagner



We Need to Measure What Matters


There is a Global Achievement Gap: needed skills v. what is taught and tested - @DrTonyWagner


From @OlinCollege (engineering): "We don't talk about grades; we're obsessed with iteration" - @DrTonyWagner


From @stanforddschool: "F is the new A" - @DrTonyWagner


Assess what matters; use #edtech to amplify (not replace) humans - @DrTonyWagner


Assess what matters; use collective human judgment informed by evidence - @DrTonyWagner




Important Implications


Of course it’s not just about Tweets and headlines. For those of us in the #edtech world, the implications are clear: It’s not about a better way to do what we’re doing already in a traditional stand-and-deliver classroom and it’s not just about being more efficient with computer-based high-stakes tests. When we do this right, we can use technology in clever ways to provide real-time insights about students’ ideas and misconceptions (what I’ve referred to as “formative assessment on steroids – knowing what your students don’t know right now before the bell rings so you can help them”) – and we can provide all our students with a more powerful, relevant, and successful learning experience.



For more on Tony Wagner, check out his new book, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World or visit his website, www.tonywagner.com. For other (actual) tweets from the conference, search #IFCeducation on Twitter.












Jim Vanides, B.S.M.E, M.Ed.
Global Education Program Manager
Corporate Affairs

Follow me on Twitter @jgvanides


on ‎04-11-2014 06:02 AM

Thanks Jim


I agree, Dr Wagner hits the nail on the head!


Our company (social enterprise) offer early learning programmes to train and educate parents or any adult caregiver how best to interact with young children. Our focus is on ensuring that the foundations for wholistic brain architecture are enabled through PLAY.


Dr Wagner also spoke this week at LEGO's Idea Conference and concented his PLAY-PASSION-PURPOSE statement. See http://theideaconference.com/#/knowledge-hub.


Kindly explore our programmes and consider how we may partner with your company - www.brainboosters.co.za



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About the Author
  • Jim Vanides is responsible for the vision, strategy, design, and implementation of education technology innovation initiatives. His focus is the effective use of technology to create powerful learning experiences that help students around the world succeed. He has been instrumental in launching over 1200 primary, secondary, and higher education projects in 41 countries, including the HP Catalyst Initiative - a 15-country network of 60+ education organizations exploring innovations in STEM(+) learning and teaching. In addition to his work at HP, Jim teaches an online course for Montana State University on the Science of Sound, a masters-level, conceptual physics course for teachers in grades 5 through 8. Jim’s past work at HP has included engineering design, engineering management, and program management in R&D, Manufacturing, and Business Development. He holds a BS in Engineering and a MA in Education, both from Stanford University.
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