You’re reading this article for free, over the internet. You’re on a computer—desktop, laptop, mobile handheld device—and serving up information on demand is probably the least of what that device is capable of. All of this was unthinkable 40 years ago, barely within the realm of imagination 30 years ago, and wishful thinking a mere two decades ago. Technology has become a massive part of our everyday personal and professional life experience, and it’s gaining ground all the time.
Schools are playing catch-up with this reality, and one of their greatest challenges is that the rate at which technology is changing—programming languages, hardware, design trends—is faster than curricula can be created. Some schools have buried their heads in the sand and decided to freeze their teaching methods and content in the past. Others have made an attempt to update and thrown a few computers into the mix; however, the best schools are preparing students for the future on multiple fronts.
Problem solving, and self-led or self-motivated learning are some of the critical skills for the evolving world. The forward-looking schools now engage students in solving challenges themselves and learning critical thinking skills, so they can continue learning as technology changes and their jobs and daily experience evolve along with it. The fundamentals of computing, engineering, programming, and coding are taught, giving students a common language and having them create and reverse-engineer to deepen their understanding of current and emerging technology so they can create for tomorrow. They use existing technology to connect with students more effectively, engaging them with multimedia, collaboration tools, and hands-on problem-solving challenges.
None of this precludes a traditional curriculum, but rather enhances it. There’s continuing value in understanding history, communication, and the arts. Fine arts and music have a real role in brain development, crossover skills, and the ability to innovate and improvise creative solutions. STEM subjects teach fundamental principals and contribute to success in post-secondary education and to that of students heading into the career world.
It’s important to find the right school for your child. Look for programs that recognize the value of technology-supported learning and STEM education subjects. Expat families are in luck; international schools offer some of the most forward-thinking, well-integrated programs. The globally recognized international baccalaureate in Singapore is an excellent option that incorporates technology in the classroom and emphasizes STEM subjects, with a full complement of additional arts, sports, and language learning, as well as leadership and soft-skills development. Similar schools exist in Hong Kong and other primary international business hubs, speaking to the deep connection between industry and technological advancement.
Help your child succeed by equipping them with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to keep learning as the world changes and technology continues to evolve. Better yet, position them to contribute to that evolution with creative thinking and problem-solving skills, leadership and communication competencies, and a foundational understanding of STEM subjects and principals. With the right foundation, they’ll not only be able to understand and interact with their world more effectively, they’ll be equipped to be a part of creating it.