Thursday, June 23, 2011

How does the library profession help to grow the skills of a 21st century workforce?

I am following Howard Rheingold's Infotention and the following is a series of posts discussing the skills needed within a 21st century workforce.  There are five short posts, outlining two skills in each, and a quick read will get you thinking about how much influence we have, as a profession, in building many of those skills. 
I have listed the headings below, and you can read the full posts here

1. Sense Making: The ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
2. Social Intelligence: The ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
3. Novel and Adaptive Thinking: Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.
4. Cross-Cultural Competency: The ability to operate in different cultural settings
5. Computational Thinking: The ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
6. New-Media Literacy: The ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication.
7. Transdisciplinarity: Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
8. Design Mindset: The ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
9. Cognitive Load Management: The ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques
10. Virtual Collaboration: The ability to work proactively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.

The work that we do in information literacy, critical literacy, and the diversity of resources to which we lead our clientele are crucial in building these skills.  But it looks like a big job, when you put it like this, doesn't it?  How many people in your professional sphere understand what you have to offer?

Have a great Friday - it was nice driving to work this morning and kidding myself that the days already seem longer!

Donna Watt

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your post Donna. I've just read through the original posts, and I totally agree with you - these 10 essential skills for the future are really closely aligned to the skills we are trying to give our students. As you say, the challenge is to make our teaching colleagues aware that we have a lot to offer.

    My first step will be to alert all our staff to the original blog post and get them thinking about this set of skills. If I can also link this in their minds to things that I do, like giving guidance on website evaluation, for example, maybe I can have them make some connections between what I do as a librarian and getting students to think critically and collaboratively. I'd be really interested to hear of any other ideas though. As you say, it's a huge task, but well worth the effort of taking some first steps.

    Carole Gardiner