Addressing the digital skills gap with computational thinking: Page 2 of 5

December 14, 2018 //By Jonathan Smith
Addressing the digital skills gap with computational thinking
It is estimated that 65 percent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t currently exist. Unfortunately, in most parts of the world, the skills that are needed to survive this new working economy are not currently taught in schools, with subject-based knowledge still the priority.

Making the change we need is mission critical. Computational thinking is an essential part of addressing this growing digital skills gap that exists across the globe and many economists, business leaders, politicians and other key figures have highlighted how organisations are already changing the way they identify talent and develop their workforce of the future.  The challenge for today’s educators is to help schoolchildren prepare for the new working economy, in turn, helping to prevent a major skills gap in the workforce of the future.

In some parts of the world such as Finland, educators are moving away from imparting knowledge on a subject basis to teach and develop skills that specifically relate to logical thinking, problem solving and computational thinking. Children and young people are being encouraged to work collaboratively, to identify a problem, to break it down into manageable parts and to generate workable and effective solutions that apply to real-world scenarios.

Of course, the skills gap issue should not only be seen solely in terms of the digital economy. While globally the digital skills gap has attracted headline figures, in recent years there has been an increased focus on the more general issue of developing problem solving and creativity skills across the entire workforce and not just those people who want to work in the technology sector.

Ironically, the increased availability and acceptability of advanced technology could be accused of creating a generation that is incapable of solving problems on their own. A reliance on smartphones, google, voice assistants, and ‘apps for everything’ has created a generation reliant on these ready-made tools.  Something must be done.

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