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Make School Relevant Again and Restore Value to Workforce

Make School Relevant Again and Restore Value to Workforce

By    |   Wednesday, 06 December 2017 10:07 AM

Education is in trouble. This isn’t a particularly provocative statement.

There is near unanimousness consensus that our students are graduating without many essential skills needed to thrive in a modern workforce that’s powering a modern economy.

Continual technological developments and new innovations have made many jobs obsolete while new fields have begun to emerge, and students have to be trained to meet that demand.

According to a Pew Research Center study, most people “say the public K-12 education system has a lot of responsibility in making sure the U.S. workforce have the right skills and education to be successful in today’s economy.”

For the U.S. to be successful in this endeavor, improvement is necessary. In essential math and science scores, two subjects deemed most important for the modern economy, the U.S. is ranked 38th and 24th on a global scale of 71 countries. Moreover, in the STEM field, only 29% of Americans feel that the education system is doing an adequate job of preparing students.

When considering the nations most vulnerable students, the outlook is even bleaker. A report by the Brookings Institute found that “Metro areas with larger education gaps experienced unemployment rates an average of 1.4 percentage points above metro areas with small such gaps.”

It’s important to note that there isn’t a singular point of blame and that it is unhelpful to spend time deciding who assign the blame to. However, while some countries are struggling to establish effective education policies, others are excelling in this area.

Therefore, it’s important to turn our attention to possible solutions so that we can begin fixing the problems that are plaguing our students.

To start, let’s consider some good news. People are already working on the problem. We have talented teachers, preparatory infrastructure, and learned professionals who are developing new solutions to our most complex educational problems. The best way for us to make meaningful improvements is through cross-border, cross-sector collaborations where the best ideas serve as solutions for the most pressing problems. By bringing everyone to the table, we can make a real difference Our biggest ineptitude is our inability to truly collaborate in order to create comprehensive solutions for our students. It seems like, before we can solve educations problems, we have to solve the way we solve problems.

Too often great ideas are going unheard, unappreciated, or unused. Experts are trying to solve an international education crisis with solid ideas from country and communities. Ideas that are working in one area have no way of being shared with another. Data-driven best practices are known to some but not all. Most importantly, we are striving to solve our most compressive problems without the full breadth of knowledge and experience of the global community.

A pessimistic 2012 article by the MIT Technology review compiled comments from Silicon Valley investors and thought leaders, and their opinions were fairly unanimous: “they worry…technologists have diverted us and enriched themselves with trivial toys.”

The idea that technology could be helping us solve our problems rather than distracting us from them is not new. Fortunately, we have arrived at a precipice, and beyond the edge lies the solution for achieving new and better solutions.

The blockchain, the powerful technology that propels popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, is being widely applied across industries to bring innovative solutions and tangible improvements to nearly everything that we do. The blockchain is a decentralized, cross-border ledger system that allows for the development of unique crypto-tokens that store value and information.

These tokens have fueled the ICO boom, and they are the primary conduit for the future of problem-solving. Blockchain applications like the Matryx platform platform are providing compelling opportunities for the best solutions to be brought forth in a collaborative environment where great ideas are rewarded and new progress can be made. On platforms like Matryx, experts worldwide will have a place to cooperate on a massive scale. The will be able to compile the newest research, develop the most compressive solutions, and assess the effectiveness of new initiatives. The blockchain enables a fluid process that is active and adaptable.

The blockchain initiates effective processes, but it also eliminates many of the roadblocks to making continual processes. First, because it runs on a decentralized network, it doesn’t require IT infrastructure or maintenance costs. When dealing with valuable educational research, we aren’t managing with massive funding levels, so every dollar counts. Moreover, because the blockchain involves a fluid process, ideas can be generated, assessed, and implemented with greater speed and efficiency. For educational materials, this means that products get into the classrooms more quickly, and researchers are compensated more quickly, which further accelerates the cycle of improvement.

Another interesting blockchain education solution is the new platform created by SONY which will help educators secure and share students data. This means they will be able to discuss a student's progress, development and needs within an encrypted platform, and all this information such as degrees, diplomas, tests and more are stored as a kind of "digital transcript" to track student progress and prevent cheating. The platform will also allow access to third parties for assessment, job interviews and more. This solution improves on current methods of storing student information within institutions which requires student information to be shared via email, physical copies and other means leaving the information vulnerable to attack and more difficult to track.

Across the board, workforce, economic, and educational experts are relentlessly touting STEM subjects as the necessary subjects which students must master to be successful when they leave school. It’s easy to see why.

The blockchain, a prolific technology that is the result of expertise in all four of those subjects, is providing new and better ways to solve the world most pressing problems.

For education, that means that experts and professionals have a place to collaborate and a system through which they can help ensure that every student receives the best education possible.

Education may be in trouble. But it feels like we have an opportunity. It feels like we have the possibility of making real progress.

Jim Hoffer is founder and managing director at Hoffer Financial Consulting. Follow him on Twitter.

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Education may be in trouble. But it feels like we have an opportunity. It feels like we have the possibility of making real progress.
school, relevant, value, workforce
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 10:07 AM
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