Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Preparing Students for the Future

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Preparing Students for the Future

Article excerpt

If you want to see the future, just go into a school, says Gary Marx, an author who analyzes trends and helps educators use them in planning for the best outcomes for their students.

The 5-year-old who started kindergarten this year will turn 65 in 2075. The 18-year-old high school senior who graduates in 2016 will be 65 in 2063.

"What we do or don't do in our schools today is going to have implications for all of us ... for decades to come," Marx said. "That's how important education is to our future."

Marx, who offers insights in his book, "Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century: Out of the Trenches and into the Future," visited with administrators, teachers and students from the Parkway district this past week as they put together ideas for the future direction of their schools.

This Q&A offers a few takeaways:

Question * You served as a school administrator in Jefferson County Public Schools in Colorado, and then returned to the district to advise on strategy in the wake of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School. How did that influence your work and helping schools prepare and stay in touch with trends?

Marx * With Columbine, that had an outside impact on virtually every person who not only lived there and worked there, and certainly the students in the schools, but people all over (the nation).

At that time, I was and have for a good part of my life, been concerned about looking at broad trends, broad forces that impact the whole of society. The fact is that there are a lot (of them). And all those forces that impact the whole of society, certainly impact our education system.

Question * How do technology changes impact the needs of today's learners?

Marx * You have a generation of young people who are in many ways learning differently because we have seen this revolution in technology and how people get their information and how they are motivated. So, it's important for the schools to meet each student where they are personalization is very important. We need to get to know our students and consider how they get their information, what might motivate students today and how they communicate. …

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