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Skills of the Future! [Feb. 27th, 2007|06:26 pm]
There's an interesting report on Alertbox (Jakob Nielsen's website/blog about usability) that makes some suggestions about the computer skills that kids should be learning in school. It's not things like "how to use Word", but high-level skills. I'll summarize:

* Search strategies
* Dealing with information overload
* Evaluating information credibility
* Writing for online readers
* Computerized presentation skills
* Workspace ergonomics
* Debugging
* Basics of usability

They're obviously biased by his professional viewpoint, but I think they still capture some important ideas.

The first three are basically "how to look for what you need to know and then sort out what's good from what's crap". Writing and presentation (and to some extent, usability) are basically "how to communicate appropriately in different media", and I definitely think that's lacking. Ergonomics and overload (and usability again, I suppose) could also be regarded as "how to manage the constraints of being a human when using technology", and that's certainly of growing importance. And the basics of debugging -- how to do methodical trouble-shooting when something goes wrong -- is so important I'm kind of surprised it's not already taught.

What do you guys think? What hard-won skills do you have that should be passed on to future generations?

[User Picture]From: ciddyguy
2007-02-28 01:51 am (UTC)
Those are indeed all good suggestions, however, #2 and #3 are really, really important as it goes back to critical thinking skills in general - in just about everything we do, be it read the paper, watch local news etc.

And I do agree that not all that's out there, especially on the 'net is credible and knowing that will make it easier to sift the crap for the good stuff.

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From: hapaxeslegomena
2007-02-28 02:15 am (UTC)
I’ve been thinking about this off and on since my niece was born. The only ones I can remember off the top of my (equally as biased) head are: Introductory linguistics, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. Runners-up would be Standard Arabic and ASL.

Statistics would probably fall under “evaluating information credibility”, as would logic. Basic graphic design might be considered part of presentation and usability.

And enough accounting and finance to invest wisely.
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From: detailbear
2007-03-01 04:45 am (UTC)

Not computer specific, but....

* Body mechanics and metabolism
* Debating skills (which overlap his 1-3)
* Boundaries: Setting and Respecting
* Seeing through others' eyes

Originally for the last point, I had written "Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (the components: Introversion vs. Extroversion; Detail-orientation vs. Big-Picture; Logical vs. Emotional Decision Making; Open vs. Structured Organization. Understanding how others think and what they need to be convinced your ideas will work.)"

But it's actually a bigger subject: Understanding how you and others relate to the world and how individual and cultural filters change how people perceive and interact with events and each other. MBTI is one useful tool for understanding some of the individual filters. Others include learning about other cultures and ways of living, but there is more potential for triggering isolationist/fundamentalist resistance there.

That became longer than I had intended.
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