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Noelene Callaghan

My Blog

My Blog

Why learning long-life skills is not 'important' but 'critical'?

Posted on 18 October, 2014 at 5:55

We all dream of teaching our students skills that they can refer too or use later in life, but rarely are we realistically able to do this. Fortunately, as a teacher of technology, my chances of students developing skills over a longer period of time and then utilising them after they graduate from secondary school is higher…..or so one would think.


Today, I entered a telephone communication store at the closest Westfields to purchase a new sim card, only to find that I was back into a classroom setting where staff and managers spent a considerable amount of time trouble shooting technical problems. Although the staff were very apologetic and worked tirelessly to assist me, it was clear that the skills that I was teaching in class wouldn’t be able to ‘save’ my students if they were ever employed by this organisation. We (and I mean, me) facilitate a classroom where students stay on task, create new and innovative pieces of work but rarely sit in front of a computer and try to work out what they are required to do autonomously. Students are guided, follow structured lessons that allow them to learn 21st century learning skills such as communication and collaboration, but are we teaching our students how to sink or swim in situations that require them to solve technological questions?


In a bid to determine this, I have spent the afternoon devising a unit of work that I intend to teach this term that will see students work in teams in competition with each other to solve technological problems. The focal point of the unit of work will be based on the learning that has been learned this year, however, students will be provided with all of the information and then be required to break away and complete the task. Although this may seem simple, it requires students to think outside of the box and consider numerous options before unanimously agreeing on a decision to solve the problem. This coupled with using a new platform, Google Docs, is intended to develop the skills of our younger students whilst increasing their overall digital literacies and basic computer skills. I will document findings after the lessons are taught and hopefully be able to identify patterns of growth by all students.


Categories: 2014, Education, Pedagogy