by Terry Heick
It could be argued—and probably argued well—that what a student fundamentally needs to know today isn’t much different than what Tom Sawyer or Joan of Arc or Alexander the Great needed to know.
How true this turns out to be depends on how macro you want to get. If we want to discuss our needs as humans in broad, sweeping themes, then food, water, shelter, connectivity, safety, and some degree of self-esteem pretty much cover it.
But in an increasingly connected and digital world, the things a student needs to know are indeed changing—fundamental human needs sometimes drastically redressed for an alien modern world. Just as salt allowed for the keeping of meats, the advent of antibiotics made deadly viruses and diseases simply inconvenient, and electricity completely altered when and where we slept and work and played, technology is again changing the kind of “stuff” a student needs to know.
Of course, these are just starters. Such a list really could go on forever.
The Changing Things They Need To Know: 13 Categories & 63 Ideas
1. The best way to find different kinds of information
2. How to save information so that it can be easily found and used again
3. Distinguish fact from opinion, and know the importance of each
4. How to think critically—and carefully–about information
5. How to self-direct learning
6. How to mobilize learning
7. How to identify what’s worth understanding
8. How to relate habits with performance
9. The relationship between physical and digital spaces
10. The pros and cons—and subsequent sweet spots–of digital tools
11. What mobile technology requires—and makes possible
12. The nuance of communication in-person (e.g., eye contact, body language) and in digital domains (e.g., introduction, social following, etc.)
13. The consequences of sharing an idea
14. The right stage of the creative process to share an idea
15. That everything digital is accelerated; plan accordingly. And this kind of acceleration doesn’t always happen in the brick-and-mortal world—and that’s okay.
16. The need for digital citizenship—and how to create their own rules citizenships in general–digital and otherwise.