20 November 2016

The skills for the future workplace include problem solving, effective communications, and collaboration

Source: Microsoft. Anthony Salcito, VP, Worldwide Education, Microsoft, during his keynote address on Bridging the next Digital Divide.
Source: Microsoft. Anthony Salcito, VP, Worldwide Education, Microsoft, during his keynote address on Bridging the next Digital Divide.

Preparing students with skills for the future workplace was the top of the agenda during the Bett Asia 2016 summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The discussion at the event included results of a recent Microsoft survey of nearly 1,000 schools across Asia Pacific, in which educators expressed the challenges and opportunities in optimising technology for the classroom as well as the skillsets required to succeed.

Respondents in the Microsoft survey, Driving Transformation in Education, shared that that challenges in optimising technology for the classroom cannot be overcome without the support of school leaders and decision makers. The findings showed that teachers want to be involved when working on strategies and policies as they are the ones executing them in the classrooms.

The study revealed that the biggest factor needed to successfully transform teaching and learning experiences was educator skill sets – in particular, being trained to optimise technology in the classroom. In fact, one in three respondents believed that they are currently unable to equip students with the skill sets needed to succeed in the future workplace with their current school curriculum and ways of teaching.

Anthony Salcito, VP, Worldwide Education, Microsoft, said, “In many schools, there’s a focus on training teachers and readying teachers for use of technology but without a foundation set for the long-term vision of how it can impact their students’ learning outcomes. Creating a strong foundation and casting a vision for how schools can truly improve their students’ learning outcomes, graduation rates and success for the future is the most successful starting point. Technology naturally becomes in-service to bringing the vision to fruition.”

Preparing students for a technology-driven workforce was top of the agenda among educators at the summit. The most important skills educators ranked as required for students include problem solving (71%), skilled communication (68%), collaboration with others (61%), digital media literacy (57%), and data analytics and visualisation (56%). Nine in 10 (91%) of the respondents believed that students with low digital literacy are not equipped for the changing workforce requirements and skills and will not be able to adapt to the future workplace.

Don Carlson, Education Lead, Microsoft Asia Pacific, said, “The transition from education to employment continues to be one of the main obstacles facing youth especially in the Asia Pacific region. It is important for us to equip educators with the right tools, enable access to training, and bridge the technological challenges which they are facing to drive transformation and learning efficiencies for impactful outcomes.

“Technology cannot replace great teaching but it can make greater teachers even better. We are inspired to work with educators, with students, with school leaders, on their journey to redefine learning in and out of the classroom.”