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  • Writer's pictureRita D. Williams, Ph.D.

Are You Driving Change Or Are You Being Driven By It?

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

The title of this blog entry along with subsequent statements in quotation marks are citations from an insightful video by Gerd Leonhard entitled Change Squared. This short film highlights how quickly our world is...or rather has changed in regards to digital transformation.

“Science fiction is becoming science fact.” What was once thought to be a figment of a creative imagination is now our reality. Robots are replacing humans in the workplace. Cars can drive themselves. And our cell phones do talk.

“Human only traits such as creativity, imagination, intuition, emotion, and ethics will be even more important in the future.” Only characteristics that cannot be programmed will separate our worth from that of a machine. Have we prioritized cultivating these skills in students?

“Disruption has become the new normal.” The pandemic has further exposed inadequacies in our country in areas that include, but are not limited to, healthcare, economics, politics and family relations. As educators, many of us cannot ignore the fact that our current standards and curricula do not adequately prepare our students to be innovative problem solvers in a world that will continue to expand its reliance on technology, communication, and creativity.

“There is only one space left to innovate” As we see an increase in the development of machines, to a greater extent, we must increase our efforts to help students develop the capabilities that are within them. If we do not focus on 21st century skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication, we are committing educational malpractice. These competencies, also known as the 4Cs, are the foundation of STEM Reimagined.

Creativity is not for writers, musicians, and painters only. Creativity is a mindset that is necessary for problem-solving in all fields, from medicine to engineering to business to computer science.

Critical thinking should be the basis of all we do. It requires us to analyze, synthesize, conceptualize as well as realize that our existence can only be deepened by transcending rote mental activities and tapping into our complete intellectual potential.

When a group of people come together with a common vision to create a common project, the results often exceed the capabilities of each individual in the group. Collaboration allows us to activate the strengths of those involved and use those strengths to achieve a common goal.

Communication is the mechanism through which creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration are achieved. Without effective communication, our ideas remain ours and only we can benefit from them. To be drivers of change, we have to share our ideas and let others grab hold of them.

Helping our students flourish in the 4Cs is the only way we can effectively prepare them to drive, rather than be driven by, change. K - 12 educators and parents who want support with knowing exactly how to do so, our monthly STEMatics clinics are just for you. We hope to collaborate with you soon.

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