Culture, Science, and Problem Solving
As a father of two girls, I have actually been thinking about this quite a bit. In general, I want my kids to be prepared for a world that is going to be very, very different from the world I grew up in, largely due to the travel, communications, and the Internet. I would recommend students to be focused on the following areas:
—Language and Culture: we are living in a global economy where America is going to only be one of the dominant economic forces. It will be really important for students to be able to communicate sensitively across the globe and be sensitive to other cultural norms. The American way of doing things is not necessarily the only or the right way to do things.
—The Scientific Method: I was lucky to be a scientist in college and learn the scientific method. You know: set up your controls, test, review, repeat. Actually most software development and Internet advertising is just large version of applying the scientific method to technology. The scientific method is really a core philosophy that is very applicable to almost anything a technologist or manager does these days.
—Creative Problem Solving: The Internet, mobile devices and access to information have almost eliminated the need for memorization. At the same time, there is an information explosion. So it is more important for students to understand how to find the right information and solve problems than it is to memorize information (like when we were growing up).