By BETTY GABRIEL WAKIA
IN THE digital age of the 21st century, the development of technology has greatly changed the global economic situation and the structure of the labour force.
A large number of daily works have gradually been replaced by machines, and the basic reading and writing ability has been unable to meet the needs of economic development and employment.
To meet these challenges, it needs to develop the educational structure to teach new skills, qualities, and digital literacy by using 21st century learning methods and principles. It is not enough for students to learn traditional core subjects. They should not only master the traditional literacy skills but also master high-level thinking skills, learn to use multi-disciplinary knowledge and high-order thinking ability to solve problems and create new ideas, new products and new services to become adaptable in their working environment.
In the UK and elsewhere when the social and economic changes, it contributes intense competition for jobs and places at top universities. When new recruits arrive ill-equipped, some tutors and employers complain that students must have been spoon-fed material at school or college. In order to keep up with the 21st century digital age, developing countries like PNG should step up by incorporating the digital literacy across the school curriculum to prepare students for the future.
For today’s students, a curriculum that includes cursive writing and penmanship has all disappeared. Today, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, eReaders, emails and social media reign supreme. While these devices have brought a tremendous amount of value to schools and learners of every age, the digital world is one with its own set of rules and risks.
For students to get the most out of technology and the benefits it offers, they need to know how to use it to process, deliver and receive digital information most effectively. Digital Literacy for today’s students is crucial.
In education, the main goal of today is to prepare students for work and social life which has become one of the biggest challenges we face in this century. Learning for work and life means to learn to apply 21st century skills by helping as many children as possible, which means a deep understanding of the core themes of the challenges of modern era.
The skills of the “21st century: learning for the Age We Live” provides us with a framework for learning in the 21st century, and presents the skills necessary to live in this complex not only traditional education subjects such as arithmetic, writing and reading but also the theme of modern society, such as globalization awareness, health, financial or economic and environment production. In other words, schools in the 21st century should teach students to use 21st century skills to understand and solve real world challenges.
The 21st century learning framework has been adopted by thousands of educators nationwide and around the world, and is a powerful solution that combines learning, work, life and people’s needs. The framework highlights knowledge itself, specific skills, experience, and literacy and provides a broad definition of university and career preparation. In the UK and abroad, the 21st century learning framework of schools and communities provides a successful model of curriculum, teaching methods, career development, teaching assessment, and learning environment, which brings very positive results to students’ learning.
The world’s first global standard for digital literacy was announced at Dubai’s Global Education and Skills Forum for the first time last year. This is outlined in the DQ Global Standards Report 2019, which establishes a framework for digital literacy, skills and preparation. The framework aims to build a global digital intelligence framework called DQ which includes common definitions of digital literacy, skills, readiness, language, and understanding.
The implementation of the 21st century learning strategy requires student understanding of core academic development. In the context of core academic teaching, students need to acquire the basic skills such as 4C: Critical thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration to succeed in today’s world. Based on this, the school prepares for learning, work and life by combining the necessary support system standards, education, courses, assessments, learning environment and professional development. At the same time, educators experience interdisciplinary collaboration and mutual support.
To be able to prepare students for future work and life, new educational methods are needed to help promote individual learning, improve and develop students’ abilities. New learning methods require not only results from what is known and what can be done, but also different directions for teaching in the classroom. This direction is described as a combination of complex thinking, feelings, perceptions, and behaviors. In order to support this learning philosophy, a direct, clear and comprehensive strategy is needed to enable students to learn in the 21st century learning environment. This strategy must not reduce the focus on core academic knowledge. It must learn the skills of the 21st century in a professional field so that students can learn and apply their knowledge outside the school.
In order to help students cope with the future challenges, business and education leaders and stakeholders as decision makers can work together to ensure that education in the 21st century had to used flexible skills by teaching and advocating the development of student’s flexible skills to help them better adopt to the ever-changing world. In this way, when students step out of the campus and step into the society, they are more likely to be flexible, achieve greater achievements and make more contributions. By achieving that in the developing countries like PNG, our education system needs to find solutions to ensure the creativity and innovation of children in teaching on and off campus to ensure that they are well-prepared to successfully enter university, career and social life.
Digital literacy is at the heart of 21st century skills and it should incorporate into curriculum design. Learners in the 21st century need to learn far beyond the 3R curriculum and need to master the 21st century skills with 4C. In order to meet the opportunities and challenges brought by digital technology, countries have adjusted their education policies and promoted the digital transformation of education in all aspects. One of those policies is to incorporate digital literacy training into the curriculum system of primary and secondary schools. Digital literacy is seen as the ability to use digital resources and participate effectively in social processes in a new technology environment. The cultivation of digital literacy has gradually been incorporated into the curriculum system of basic education.
In the UK, the Digital Technology Industry Association BIMA called on the government to incorporate digital literacy throughout the curriculum. BIMA found that more than a third of students thought they did not get the digital learning they needed. Computer learning courses cover only limited areas of digital skills, such as coding. BIMA warns that limiting digital education to the computer room is a blinking approach that will damage the economy in the long run.
In the United States, the curriculum reform for 2030 is an academic discussion and local practice. There is no national wave of reform, but Finland promotes and implements the curriculum reform for 2030 at the national level. In 2012, the Finnish government’s “Predict 2030” report presented an ambitious educational goal: by 2030, Finland will have the best education system in the world. In the same year, the Finnish National Board of Education initiated the development of a draft pre-school and basic education curriculum. In August 2016, the design of the new national core curriculum was completed and begins to implement new curriculum reforms across the country.
Every 10 years, Finland will conduct curriculum reforms under the guidance of the national board of education. The Finnish National Board of Education pointed out that the world in which the schools are located is complex and interconnected, rapid and unstable, and increasingly digital. Therefore, the education system needs to conduct a comprehensive self-analysis, and the “2030 Barometer” collects multiple perspectives. With the support of the “2030 Barometer”, the new curriculum is geared towards 2030, based on an analysis of the capabilities that children and young people need in their learning, everyday life and workplace in the near future.
The 21st century skills movement redefines the goal of Finnish education and reorganizes learning to meet the needs of Finnish students to participate in the 21st century knowledge society. The new curriculum reform in Finland focuses on 21st century skills. The new curriculum is divided into seven competency areas based on 21st century skills. These capabilities constitute knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. The new curriculum emphasizes the need for each discipline to promote horizontal capabilities, clarifying the specific competency goals, teaching content, teaching methods and evolution methods of different grades.
In order to achieve the development goals of Education 2030, Japan is implementing the basic goal of curriculum reform with the core of “three elements of learning”, the knowledge (what is mastered), (how the knowledge is used), and personality (how to get along in society and related cognition). It clarify the basic direction of the basic education curriculum reform in Japan, taking into account the three-dimensional orientation, comprehensive integration, and effective curriculum design.
In the developing countries like PNG, we believe that there is still much room for improvement in current education system. By incorporating digital literacy into the curriculum design will enable students to prepare for the future jobs that are not yet exist.
Education reform in PNG has been going on but whether the current curriculum and teaching materials can adapt to the requirements of PNG education for 2030 is still a question. Although we cannot accurately predict the world after 2030, we have a responsibility to help students prepare as much as possible.
By BETTY GABRIEL WAKIA