#diglit, #NMChz, Digital Literacy, Higher Education, highered, Horizon Report, literacy, postgraduates, publication, report, Research, survey, technology, Training, work, Workplace

The Future of Work: Technology and Robots and Digital Literacy… OH MY!

Q: When will robots be able to do my job?

A: Not yet… (at least not all of it).

I’ve been thinking about how technology is and will impact the world of work. Thanks to NPR’s Planet Money calculator: Will Your Job Be Done By A Machine? and perhaps an empirical search on automation in teaching literature I’ve been reviewing for George … I might have robots on my mind. The calculator says my professional role is not likely to be fully replaced, but I have my doubts.

I can see ways we are already automating instruction, grading, peer review, etc. So career planning for many occupational roles will shift over time as technology is infused into the labor market. As I instruct a career planning course, Personal/Professional Development (#LTEC3010), I am quite concerned with how we are preparing (or not preparing) learners to thrive in an evolving career economy.  To support occupational preparation of the unknown, I have been picking up a few books on the future of work to add to the course– here’s what  on my book #shelfie that I read/reviewed (again) this past summer:

Although robots and technology will not take over ALL jobs in the future, the working economy will need new skill sets and agile employees. We know an increasing number of curricular and co-curricular programs in higher education are striving to include “Nonacademic Skills” and some programs are attempting to prepare learners for jobs that may not even exist yet. We hope the value of a postsecondary degree goes beyond a transcript; however, we have rarely looked ahead to align occupational preparation with the six driving factors and the needs for future work skills 2010 (Davis, Fidler, Gorbis, 2011):

  1. Life longevity: By 2025, the number of Americans older than 60 will increase by 70%.
  2. The rise of smart machines & systems: Technology can augment & extend own capabilities & workplace automation is killing the repetitive job.
  3. Computational world: Increases in sensors & processing makes the world a programmable system; data gives us the ability to see things on a scale.
  4. New media ecology: New communication tools require media literacies beyond text; visual communication media is becoming a new vernacular.
  5. Superstructure organizations: Social technologies drive new forms of production & value creation; social tools allow organizations to work at scale.
  6. Globally connected world: Diversity and adaptability are at the center of operations–US and Europe no longer hold a monopoly on job creation, innovation, and political power.

Based on these changes to the world of work, a degree and employment experience will NOT set anyone apart from the competition in the new job economy. You will have to continue to improve upon your skills, adapt to the changing environment, and plan for ongoing professional development throughout your career. Here are the top 10 skills needed for the workforce of 2020 identified by Davis et al., 2011:

  1. Sensemaking: The ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed. 
  2. Social intelligence: The ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions. 
  3. Novel and adaptive thinking: Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.
  4. Cross-cultural competency: The ability to operate in different cultural settings.
  5. Computational thinking: The ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based. 
  6. Digital literacy and information fluency: The ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication. 
  7. Interdisciplinary mindset: Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines. 
  8. Design thinking: The ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes. 
  9. Cognitive load management: The ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functions. 
  10. Virtual Collaboration: The ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team. 

As I review/edit materials in my courses, I am thinking more about the digital literacies that encourage my learners to PRODUCE, CREATE, and SHARE before they graduate.  Much of HOW we prepare our learners TODAY, will impact how they function in the future job economy.  Are we thinking beyond the requirement of a course? Can we apply learning to occupational environments or non-academic settings? What ways have we been encouraging digital literacy and information fluency at our campuses? What have you required your students to create, produce, and share using different mediums or platforms? These are just a few questions I have been thinking about for course design, and I am pondering even more after drafting the latest New Media Consortium (@NMCorg) survey/report over the summer. Read more here:

2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief  [Download: nmc.org/digilit-impact]

The 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief uncovers the learner’s perspective of how digital literacy training influences work life after graduation. As a complement to the definitions and frameworks outlined in the 2017 strategic brief on digital literacy in higher education, this study examines digital literacy in action as learners enter the workforce. More than 700 recent graduates from 36 institutions responded to an NMC survey that addressed the experiences they gained at colleges and universities, and how their proficiencies or lack thereof have affected their careers. Funding for this independent research endeavor and publication was provided by Adobe.

Reference:

Adams Becker, S., Pasquini, L. A., and Zentner, A. (2017). 2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief. Volume 3.5, September 2017. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

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Learning and Performance, Networked Community, Professional Development, Virtual Communities, Workplace

VOTE for our PanelPicker: #NSFWatSXSW

Employees in today’s workforce have either grown-up balancing their “screen time” or have embraced the power of digital tools to enhance communication, collaboration, and workflow. Social and digital technologies have been at our fingertips for just over a decade in our occupational lives. Exposure to social media or mobile applications does not mean new professionals or veteran employees are digitally savvy at simultaneously negotiating their online and offline self. Our social networks have expanded beyond a collection of family/friends and now branch into industry groups, professional networks, and online communities connected to our career.  The expression “in real life” or “IRL” no longer applies, and what we do inside the screen does impact our working lives. What happens when these digital networks witness behaviors or interactions that are unwanted, inappropriate, hateful, and not suitable for work (NSFW)?

#NSFWatSXSW: Your “Professional” netWORKed Community:

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/77084 

Our digital communities and online networks are witnessing unwanted behaviors and reactions.

“Online communities form for personal enrichment, professional networking, and social learning. How do they help or hurt individuals, organizations, and industry? What challenges and barriers arise for community organizers? When it comes to the workplace, what happens when our online and offline life converge? Implications for both individuals and employers will be discussed.”

Being exposed to these virtual spaces and places does not mean employees or employers know how to simultaneously negotiate what happens when these online interactions impact the offline work environment and potentially impact their career advancement. The WEF Future of Jobs report (Leopold, Ratcheva, & Zahidi, 2016) listed complex problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity at the top of the essential skills list for work in 2020; however, digital literacy training and preparation in post-secondary has not fully prepared learners to contribute (Alexander et al., 2017) and meet the technology needs of industry.  As we think about the future of jobs and job training needs (Rainie & Anderson, 2017), it is critical we address these networked behaviors and consider the skills required to cultivate a productive digital ecosystem that is able to go to work with our employees.

In our PanelPicker session, we want to share implications and strategies for supporting professionals in a networked space for the INTERACTIVE: Workplace track. We want to discuss how these networked spaces and, perhaps not NSFW online interactions, impact the future of work, by discussing:

  1. Why do networked communities matter for professional practice and industry?
  2. What are the benefits and challenges in these professional networked communities?
  3. How do we (employer’s, employees, or industry) deal with these digital communities or networked professionals in the workplace?

Please join the online community opportunity to VOTE and COMMENT on our idea, and others! The opportunity to source the most creative, innovative and appropriate for the South by Southwest (SXSW) 2018 event is yours for deciding. The community voting will close on Friday, August 25 (11:59 PM CT). Please take a minute to VOTE for OUR PanelPicker!!

#NSFWatSXSW

Your “Professional” netWORKed Community

 http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/77084 

References:

Alexander, B., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., & Hall Giesinger, C. (2017). Digital Literacy in Higher Education, Part II: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief. Volume 3.4, August 2017. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Leopold, T. A., Ratcheva, V., & Zahidi, S. (2016, January). The future of jobs: Employment, skills and workforce strategy for the fourth industrial revolution. World Economic Forum.

Rainie, L., & Anderson, J. (2017, May 3). The future of jobs and jobs training. Pew Research Center.

Career, Reflections, Workplace

What’s Your “Ideal” Job?

Have you ever been asked to describe your “ideal” job? Sometimes this comes up in a traditional job interview.  Or perhaps you had someone (a teacher, family member, or friend) just ask you about your career goals. Have you thought about what sort of work drives you? Do you know what sort of “job” you are looking for in your field that best fits you? How does work design impact what you do daily? What inspires you in your day-to-day work? How do you prefer to function and perform?
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These are questions I have asked my students for years. We spend a lot of time in the world of work. So, it’s a natural to want to know about goals and purpose as a student discusses courses in an academic advising appointment. And it is even more intentional as I have worked with undecided majors and first-year students (undergraduate and graduate) to help with their career exploration journey. This semester I am instructing LTEC 3010: Personal Development (a scaled up version that I promise to blog about soon), where we dive into these specific issues (follow #LTEC3010):
  • Determining avenues to find a job and planning your career
  • Preparing for the workforce: job search, interviews, resumes, applications, etc.
  • Getting started at your new job: dress, etiquette, digital identity, etc.
  • Being productive: Managing stress and time effectively, & working with others
  • Developing your career: Finding support, connecting to professional organizations, strategies & challenges for moving up the ladder, and seeking out mentorship experiences.
I typically ask my students what their “ideal” job and/or career entails — however until recently I haven’t flipped the tables on myself. After a recent prompt from someone, I decided to list what MY “ideal” interests are for the world of work — specifically targeted towards learning and development.
In general, I am interested in understanding how to build and support the complex learning spaces we work in, specifically, as we consider the connection between formal to informal learning (found among K-12, higher education & the workforce). If I was on a formal job hunt, here are a few items I would be scanning for in the job posting descriptions for, specifically to uncover the culture of an organization:
  • The opportunity to research the challenges/barriers that higher ed faces for our learning landscapes, which includes pedagogy and design of online, blended, and F2F learning. In particular, the issues encounter with HE faculty and staff development, systemic challenges, and student access. Those organizations who are aligned with a similar research agenda, i.e. new ideas of learning, learning delivery, and approaches to educational models impacting us now and in the future, would entice me to apply.
  • The ability to apply research into practice. This means continuing to be active in the field of learning and teaching, through course instruction and/or training & development programs for formal and informal learning. The idea of creating and delivering curriculum to various campus stakeholders who share similar emerging ideas for learning and research is exciting to me.
  • The opportunity for community building and network development to enhance the work of our segregated professional learning organizations that support HE faculty, practitioners, and administrators — specifically distributing knowledge, resources, and issues across these sections of our institutions. I would love to be part of an organization with a broader vision that can offer  t; offering an avenue for social sharing/learning; considering these contributions beyond a space or place (i.e. conference, event, etc.) to allow for on-going dialogues; being a central hub to cross-pollinate ideas and deal with issues
  • Being encouraged to collaborate and support design thinking as a process for innovation within a team across our higher education organizations and/or institutions. In working with a number of talented and thoughtful folks, I have learned the value of incubating ideas to solve problems and work on shared projects. We need to apply this nimble sort of thinking to our learning organization. We need to value both the process and not just the final product, in an environment that values and encourages sharing.

Those are my general thoughts for my future focus for work, and here are a few practical/personal preferences* for my world of work. Here are a few “must haves” for my ideal job:

  • Shared vision with the organization; appropriate cultural fit that supports the above ideas and goals
  • Balance between shared projects and individual assignments
  • Opportunity to continue current research projects and/or contract instructional assignments within higher education and/or learning institutions
  • Flexibility for my work environment, i.e. ability to work within an office and the allowance to be a distributed team member (telecommutes/remote work)
  • Open & available for traveling to consult, work, train, etc.
  • Preference for project-based work vs. a set schedule of hours per day/week, while offering regular updates and progress reports as required
  • Being both challenged and supported on assignment projects and contributions
  • The culture of learning is embedded to the work functions; learning is not just something we talk, research, or do — the organization lives its mandate for all employees (i.e. professional development, mentoring, coaching, etc.)

*Note: I am sure I have other preferences (wants & needs) for a job — but let’s just start with this list and see what is out there first.

Can you describe your “ideal” job? If so, please share!