The “Class of 2030” Report (published by Microsoft and McKinsey & Company’s Education Practice) is an extensive survey about gaining insight into how to have the graduating class of 2030 thrive in work and life in a rapidly evolving career landscape.

Advances in technology are vastly changing our workforce. Automation could replace up to 50 percent of existing jobs in the US alone. And the fastest growing occupations will require higher level skills like problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking.

But, as the report points out, given our current education system, many students will not be prepared for these fast-growing jobs! The class of 2030 will need skills in creativity and problem-solving, as well as social-emotional skills like relationship building, self-awareness in order to be successful! Yet despite the importance of social-emotional skills, nearly 40% of teachers said they do not teach those skills due to lack of time, support, and such rigidly standardized curricula.

So what is the best way forward to prepare the class of 2030?

The report emphasises the need for more student-centred learning as a wway to develop these important skills. And the students surveyed agreed! Students said they wanted to have more control over the way they were learning, and they want their teachers to guide them on this educational journey! And that’s where we come in! STEM Minds and our Online Academy (SMOA) are all about guiding students to take control of their learning journey. That’s what #fearlesslearning is all about!

As the report states, “to meet these needs, technology will play and increasingly critical, complementary role in how students learn and how educators support them”. We were so happy to read this in the report because we see all the time the way that technology can support both students and educators to be successful in the classroom and the way it can prepare students for the higher-level technology skills they will need in the future.

Tools that will allow students to have a more personalized learning style will only elevate the critical role of the teacher. And teachers embrace this shift! In the report, 67% of teachers agreed that learning ought to be personalized. And we believe that technology will play a huge role in allowing learning to be personalized to every student’s needs! Students participating in a personalized learning initiative pilot had over 25% higher odds of either meeting or exceeding standards in language arts and math than students who did not participate in this initiative.

That’s a huge difference that personalization can make!

The report estimates that technology could help teachers reallocated 20-30% of their time so they can focus more on student-centric activities like refining individual lesson plans and providing personalized support to each student. And if you’re a regular reader of our blog (humble brag), you know that our online academy is all about teachers being able to free up some time to support students!

It is important to note that technology can be an excellent way to personalize learning for larger groups of students as well. Personalized learning does not only need to be available to the lucky few working with small class sizes!

Essentially the report found that social skills will be in higher demand than technical skills like programming. That’s not to say technical skills won’t be important, but rather they will need to be supplemented by strong social-emotional skills! So as educators, it is our job to make sure we support students in developing these skills, and technology can be an effective way to do this!

We believe that learning can (and should) be personalized for every single student. And we also believe that technology will play a large role in giving all students control over the way they learn and at what pace they move! Technology can also be a medium through which students can collaborate easily and provide opportunities to develop these incredibly important social-emotional skills.

Many people are eager to make the changes necessary to support students but don’t know where to start. Teachers can choose to leverage technology to provide students with more personalized learning opportunities and opportunities to develop social-emotional skills. And school leaders can promote this shift by providing time, resources, and professional development to bring these technologies in. When we all agree that these skills are a priority, we can help the class of 2030 develop the skills and mindset they need to thrive in work and life!