Educating for “Buoyancy”: Professional Skills for a New Generation of Digital Natives

Educating for “Buoyancy”: Professional Skills for a New Generation of Digital Natives

Francisco José B. S. Leandro (City University of Macau, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4861-5.ch012
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The future of education matters to all of us. This chapter presents a theoretical-inductive construction of the future of education, inspired by the advancements envisaged in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (also abbreviated to Industry 4.0 or IR4.0). Recent developments in the technological field make it imperative that university syllabi foster and grow technological and non-cognitive soft skills in tandem. The latter—socio-emotional skills—are considered crucial skills that endow “buoyancy” and resilience to the workforce. Empathy, cultural sensitivity, and tolerance are the key professional skills that should be nurtured among the upcoming generation of digital natives. The chapter builds on a previous publication and aims at advancing concrete proposals for the future of university education.
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Even with his four legs, the animal slips;

Even with all his knowledge, the scholar makes mistakes.

Lao Proverb

Educating for the future is as relevant as it is challenging, simply because we cannot afford to pay the price of failing to anticipate the upcoming reality. In planning for the future of education, we have to accept that we may be wrong in our choices and decisions because the future is unpredictable. This research begins with a fact: the 19th-century educational model of rote learning and “remembering facts”, which to a certain extent is still in practice, will be easily replaced by ordinary robots in future. All current educational models are based on emulations of past experiences adapted to sectorial perceptions of reality. Nowadays, robots are able to backflip1 and to reproduce large quantities of recorded data that most humans cannot. Thinking about the future of education is a vital concern of all responsible educators, academics, entrepreneurs and policy-makers. In the discussion of the future of education, we must answer the following question clearly: what are we all looking for? To put it simply, we are anticipating a higher value of human skills in a world of speed, inequality, uncertainty and technology. Consequently, I argue in favour of a concept of education designed to prepare citizens to face the current Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) and the upcoming IR5.0. This paper presents a methodological theoretical-inductive and constructivist perspective, combining qualitative, participant observation and further developing previous insights on education published in 2018.

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