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Sheizaf Rafaeli

- Centre For Internet Research, Israel
Sheizaf Rafaeli directs the Centre For Internet Research in Israel
Sheizaf Rafaeli directs the Centre For Internet Research in Israel

What are the skills that students should be learning in school?

I'd rather start with the skills that schools should have but don’t. We know that students need skills, and we can define what those skills might be, which would probably be a list that is dynamically changing over time. But we need to think about the skills that schools have.

First and foremost is to shift from thinking about a one way flow of training. That is, stop thinking about schools as places where things are given to students and start thinking about them as actors in the process of doing something different. Schools need to acknowledge that facts are now a lot more accessible, even without the mediation of schools, that facts are multiplying at a faster rate than learning can ever occur, and that a lot of learning takes place outside of established and institutionalised contexts.

Schools should be a meeting place for conversation and communication. They need to encourage interaction, they need to focus much more on curiosity and they need to be at the forefront of change and innovation, which are only going to accelerate. So the first part of my answer to this question is: the new skills are going to be in the schools and the teaching profession, rather than in students.

Of course students will need to know more programming than we currently teach now. Students will need to be much more in tune to global events, and that means a higher demand of linguistic abilities and languages, especially in non-English speaking countries. Students are going to need to have much more facility with the latest technologies, which change by month. These are things that are going to need to happen.

The labour market will state its demands for new skills, the curiosity and internal drive of students will set new goals for skills, but I don't think we need to focus on that as much as on the reform that we need to put the institutions through - the reforms of the skills that the institutions have. So libraries are going to have to completely change, classrooms are going to completely revamp architecturally, and we're going to need to flip the class process in terms of the schedule. These things are already changing, and they are going to change more radically in the very short term. I'm not even sure this is a 100 year project, this is more likely a 100 week project.

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