Society & Culture & Entertainment Education

Digital Natives: Literacy Learning

In the near future fifty percent of what students learn in a four year higher learning institution will be obsolete by their third year of study. The Huff Post Teen asked 20 teens what they would change about high school. The answers varied from changing the grading system, scheduling, course offerings, standardized tests, low standards and most importantly eliminating memorization to focus on learning.

These concerns pose a dilemma that should have been solved yesterday. Although some of these concerns have been minimally tampered with, it is still insufficient to meet the requirements that will most likely be needed for the newly created jobs that still have been invented.

A Decade Ago

It appears that critical changes to education are developing at a rate that is failing to keep up with technology. Ten years ago, the following jobs were non-existent:

    App Developer
    Data Miner
    Admissions Consultants
    Millennial Generational Expert
    User Experience Designer
    Sustainability Expert
    Cloud Computing Technologist
    Social Media Manager
    Future Outlook and Job Growth for 2030

Wagepoint is a company that attempts to imagine the future jobs created by technology. They are forecasting ten jobs that may seem out of this world but they do have the potential of evolving as predicted.

    Child Designer: Can you imagine configuring the specifications to design your own offspring? It sounds ludicrous but then again who knows?

    Body Part Engineer: This individual will be responsible for engineering your new organ (liver, heart, kidney, or lung) for your transplant. Yes, you read it correctly.

    Memory Augmentation Surgeon: Research shows that most individuals suffer from memory loss as we age. The surgeon will not only preserve your memory but will improve it. Sweet!

    Elderly Well Being Consultant: How about having your very own consultant in your golden age years?

    Nano-Medic: fashions smalls implants that will monitor your health and give you medication as needed. SeriouslyâEUR¦wow!

    Avatar Manager: We have come a long ways from James Cameron's Avatar movie in 2009. This person will be responsible for developing and handling holograms of virtual individuals.

    Climate Controller: Really? The weather conditions will be managed instead of forecasted. Sounds like sci-fi.

    Vertical Farmer: The fields will no longer be planted or harvested as we know it. The crops will rise towards the sky leaving plenty of space behind.

    Waste Data Handler: One of the components of waste management encompasses the trash we litter, but now waste data handler. Wasted data will have to be disposed of in an responsible manner.

    Digital Architect: Advertisers and retailers will market their products in virtual buildings designed by these individuals. Go figure...
Preparation Skills Needed

Generation Z needs to value the skills for the forecasted future jobs which will include skills such as creativity, innovativeness, problem solving, critical thinking, digital literacy, open communication, collaboration, digital citizenship, technology operations, technology concepts, research and information fluency and last but not least entrepreneurism.

The necessary skills are definitely one tall order. Whew! Where to begin, where to begin? Oh, my goodness!

Panic Mode or Embrace Change

Shall we scream and release tension or shall we breathe in deeply and relax? I am all for letting go and moving forward. The Click N Go Kids will prevail as they are already tagged as the trailblazers that are creating the future.

The New 26 Gems... Whoa, Slow Down There

Their creativity and innovativeness has reached new levels. I can say this with certainty as I know they have created their own language or shall I say "slanguage". Yes, they have taken the initiative of inventing words to communicate with each other. "How To Speak Gen Z, the alphabet according to Generation Z."

They have literally invented a word for every letter of the alphabet. There are a couple that stand out from the rest but I have to admit they are pretty unique. I am going to list of couple of examples for you but I highly recommend you click on the link and check them out.

    Okay as we know it becomes kgo, meaning okay, go.

    Mybad replaces sorry.

    QT is for cutie... I happen to like this one.

    Probs... short for probably.

    Let's not forget selfies... gotta say their self-esteem is up there.

    Defs... is now being used for definitely.

    "I" ascertains that yes they are most defs at the center of everything.

    XOXOX concludes all types of texts.

    If you want to say very trying using V to be understood.

    Sounds crazy well then say, Cray Cray.
Generation Z Literacy Learning

Although Generation Z has created their own lingo, deep down in my heart I believe they are going to succeed. There is still the issue of preparing themselves for a future that has many obstacles and challenges. The use of social media, mobile devices, educational apps, ebooks, ibooks, lectures and videos on the Internet will certainly help them to be adequately prepared.

The delivery of instruction via technology has changed the way students learn and it will be key to their preparation. At least 40 percent of teachers use computers to aid instruction and 98 percent of today's classrooms are connected to the Internet.

Approximately, 1.5 million iPads have a selection of 20,000 educational apps that may be used in the classrooms. Students prefer to read from a tablet than from a traditional book. They read on average 9 more books on a tablet. About 90 percent of students believe they can learn more effectively by using a tablet. There are about 50,000 books, videos, lectures on the Internet at the tips of their fingers.

Chalkboard and Blackboard? Huh... What's that?

Social media sites are the new chalkboard and/or blackboard. It is estimated that 67 percent of professors engage student learning via social media sites and over 90 percent use it for work purposes. Yet, while 83 percent allow laptops only 66 percent will let students use a calculator. Interestingly, there is data that shows students using Twitter have a 0.5 higher GPA then students who do not use it.
The most interesting tidbit of information is that 70 percent of students ages 2-5 can use a mouse yet only 11 percent can tie their shoe laces.

A Look in the Mirror

I once wrote in my high school yearbook that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I never imagined becoming a teacher much less a successful school principal. Now, I ponder and marvel on how my original goal has come to fruition. Wow, amazing!

As a school principal, I often motivated and challenged my students by telling them that they could be anything they wanted to be in life. I declared it with such enthusiasm and with such a profound certainty that it was in fact true and to be believed.

So, when I came to a crossroads in my career, I had to question myself on what I had frequently preached to the kids. I wondered if I had said it with such an impression because my career was set and prepared. I had planned and prepared to be a superintendent of schools in Texas. My future looked bright and right on track.

However, since it is so much easier to say and do things when one is prospering and doing well, I finally decided to practice what I was preaching to my kids. After 20 years in education, I left my comfort zone to start again. With firmness, I can say that I thrive on change, work well under pressure and have always had a desire to learn something new every day. That is a recipe for success.

Now, back to my yearbook goal and how it became true, I am now an entrepreneur. A big thanks to the digital age and my family that has supported and encouraged me throughout my life. I have gained valuable knowledge, skills and experience that will propel me to reach massive amounts of students worldwide. To a teacher, there is no greater joy than to better the lives of students.


Moving on with the belief that I am living up to the challenge that I once motivated my students with, I now want to continue with the same philosophy. As such, I am talking about the same message that will serve the students well with the yet to be newly created jobs for 65 percent of today's kindergärtners. That message being "reach for the stars, you can do anything you wish to be." My message is now tried and true.

My advice to my own X generation and to Y, Z and Alpha (anyone born after 2009), I say pursue entrepreneurship using technology. Learn computer programming, explore all mobile devices, apps, social media sites and anything and everything having to do with technology. Invest your time in real, authentic, meaningful and relevant learning.

Dare to investigate, research, question, collaborate, think critically, be creative and learn to find not one but multiple solutions to a problem that you can defend. I declare it create your own world. It is never to late and you are never too old to pursue your dreams with a vengeance. "Own it."

Literacy is Fun with Technology

Technology has created a much needed change in the traditional learning and teaching frameworks of educational institutions. For the first time in history, technology is giving us the opportunity and autonomy to be independent learners whereby we can personalize our learning.

Granted, we still need a solid foundation in reading, writing and mathematics as that allows us to explore all other subjects with relative ease. I am also of the firm belief that effective, caring and nurturing teachers will always be needed too.

Technological advancements and digital learning tools are going to make learning engaging, interactive and fun. So yes, rise to the challenge humanity and embrace literacy learning with technology.

Be Bold, Strong and Courageous

It is written in the Declaration of Independence... pursuit of happiness. I say, "kgo." After all, as the author Paulo Coelho states, "And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it."


The team at 26 Gems would like to sincerely express a heartwarming thank you for all of your continued support. It is our hope that you continue to read our blog articles and to make comments. By all means, send us suggestions for future articles.

Our next article, Part 4 of 6, will focus on students and iPads. We look forward to hearing from you. Stay tuned...

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