What do 2.7 million job adverts tell us about learning in Australia?

Plenty, as it turns out…

The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) is a group I came across in my search for just a hint of understanding in this automated, globalised and complex world that we try and keep up with. I was also trying to find an authority document as a way of focusing on what we are already doing to address the changing nature of teaching and learning, with children and young people. Something that showed we were on a right sort of track.

Much of my work involves frequent unlearning and relearning as I attempt to change and deepen my understanding of the complex, networked, instant, social, visual, hyper-connected, global reality that seems alien to me, but to them is just ‘normal’. Often by the time I approach some level of certainty though, all bets are off and it is back to the start of my quest.

As Lead Educators aka: someone who understands that to remain a contemporary and effective teacher you need to continually progress your own learning and that of your peers, as well as be open to challenges from other, including the kids…

part of our role is to navigate with learners, as lead learners, to generate agile insights that deliver responsive Learning Design.

Being aware of our often unconscious ability to propagate and colonise their digital worlds with paper based paradigms that turn them off is an important realisation to come to.

They are, in many ways different to us.

Just teach them STEM, actually it might be a little more complicated than that…

It is interesting to see the rise of the STEM agenda. It is presented as the economic imperative and the answer to our problems and need to reinvent our society.

For me, a problem is that we might be changed fatigued and just accept this without thinking long and carefully about the unintended consequences of this priority, and connecting our narratives to those who are driving the narrative.

The main things I have gotten from STEM currently are a realisation that it is an awesome opportunity to support kids to develop beautiful questions. That I can connect my area of expertise in technology to new learning and connections in mathematics and science. As well as reconnecting to the age old go to of Socratic Thinking and ask:

What am I thinking, why am I thinking that, what might, would, would not change my mind?

Also remember…

If we have an area of subject discipline expertise it is critically important to see the risks and opportunities that are emerging when we design that into learning experiences. There are important questions we must ask ourselves collectively and individually.

Are there developmental and conceptual progressions that are important to the content knowledge that we are being asked to cover?

What is the discipline specific language, are there connections with other disciplines, are there important misconceptions and assumptions that have to be looked at?

What are the skills and knowledge that are needed and how do we focus on Teaching for Effective Learning so that we open up spaces for learning where children and young people have to apply knowledge and skills as strategy?

Do we heavily inscribe our own understanding over theirs in our eagerness to be compliant improvers? There might be an appearance of mastery but with careful consideration and examination we see that in fact there is little or no attribution to other areas of learning occurring?

What does it mean for the role of the educator as a lead learner when we shift from heavy inscription over the student’s authentic, sometimes messy narratives? The narratives that allow them to share and articulate and probe. The, “I kind of get it”, messy struggle with concepts and ideas as demonstration, not just a final exhibition of learning.

How do we plenary and make use of feedback tools so we maintain our responsibility to quality assure, review and adjust the learning experience in ever increasingly clear iterations?

Looking at this through many lenses makes smart sense to me, what do you think?

Anyway, back to the FYA “New Basics”, the report analysed 4.2 million job advertisements between 2012 and 2015 to show changes we had been predicting had already landed. Please take some time to read the report and more importantly share it and start some conversations. I am confident it will generate a number of questions that will have implications for how you go about your work and how you might want to influence others.

Even better, this subsequent report identifies 7 new job clusters in Australia and made me see Australian Curriculum at another level.

Einstein aged 14

If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it,” Albert Einstein said.

Two aspects in particular stood out to me from all this.

The first was the demand for digital skills increasing by 212% and the second was problem solving which I wanted to rub out and rewrite as problem finding.

If Learning Technology is a BIG change area for teaching and learning then there are some things we need to reach agreement on and that is partly answered in Australia. Push back though, if you don’t agree.

What have we got in place at the moment?

Karen Cornelius @jarradare people to connect with if you are interested in Learning Technology and is another voice if I confuse you.

When we look at Technologies as part of our work with The Australian Curriculum, it is important to remember that it is a comprehensive and complex space to navigate:

It is the ICT General Capability

The Technologies learning area

Two subjects: Design and Technologies as well as the Digital Technologies

And also three ways of Thinking: Design, Systems and Computational

In addition we have some excellent models that help us freeze and unfreeze how we approach this change.

The obvious that comes to mind are TPACK and SAMR.

It’s all too hard…really, it just makes me feel old?

While some people might argue that the curriculum is overcrowded and too complex, I would again, as I have in the past, push back on this.

Things were different when I was a lad…

The Melbourne Declaration as the genesis to The Australian Curriculum is a manifestation of our increased expectations of what constitutes a contemporary educational entitlement, today.

Where is it all headed, I don’t want to be a dinosaur?

Take a look at the NMC Report K-12 2016 and while you are reading it prepare yourself for the 2017 version which should be released in a matter of weeks. The whole idea of the nature of our work and the impact of technology is not going to go away so step in and lean in and realise that lead learning is your new normal.

Rework the prescription you are viewing the world through from paper to digital, bifocals will provide some insights!


Even though there is a lot here to consider the great thing is that you are a lead learner, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this and that means you are up for the job of modelling what it means to be a connected, contemporary educator who is preparing yourself and your learners for today, not just some low res, pixilated future based on a paper paradigm.

…and if all else fails, just stick to making 20% of what you do as a lead educator, things you didn’t or couldn’t do 2 years ago @pkcc1