Teaching Students to Be Ready for Industry 4.0
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0 or 4IR) has given teachers what might be the greatest responsibility of our time: to evolve teaching strategies so they can unlock individual student potential and prepare students with the skills needed to shape the future through innovation supported by technology.
When thinking of preceding industrial revolutions, it’s important to note the correlation of workplace needs with education. The First Industrial Revolution used power generated by water and steam for producing goods, requiring physical labor. The Second Industrial Revolution used electricity and assembly lines for mass production run by skilled labor educated with higher-learning techniques. The Third Industrial Revolution used computers, data, and information technology (IT) to automate production through the rise of smart machines and the people who could program them.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Technology
The current Fourth Industrial Revolution is merging the physical and digital worlds by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and smart factories to produce goods. Computers and robots are now being tasked with routine, mundane, repetitive, or hazardous tasks. This allows workers to focus on strategic decision-making, problem solving, communication, and management activities. As a result, humans and machines are working side by side. New jobs powered by technology and innovation are emerging. As machines support human workers, it will become increasingly important for people to be qualified for, and have skills in, using technology systems.
The impact of these shifts is not limited to industry, manufacturing, farming, or production; instead, the reach of these shifts is impacting all other fields as well. Medicine, finance, science, technology, marketing, healthcare, education, and virtually every other field of professional scope are also shifting to embrace advancing technologies.
Today’s students must be able to not only adapt to such shifts but be positioned to shape them through creative problem solving and open thinking. Open thinking means being continuously creative, making decisions, and completing actions with creativity—compelling the next wave of creative thinking. Mistakes are simply opportunities to learn. Open thinking, especially when combined with technology that applies exponential thinking, is what will allow students to contribute professional value to society while also enabling them to make the most of applying technology in new ways.
Accordingly, teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution means teaching strategies must evolve. Teaching needs to change so students move beyond remembering and understanding a given curriculum topic to learning how to apply, analyze, and create, using what they learn in the classroom. Personalized learning is not a goal but a means to achieving those outcomes. The goal is to build students’ talents and problem-solving skills using available technology tools that allow them to resolve issues in ways never imagined before.
For example, Bloom’s taxonomy is one hierarchical classification system educators use to define and discriminate between different levels of thinking, learning, and understanding. Each level of cognition corresponds to different levels of learning. The goal behind using Bloom’s taxonomy is to encourage higher-order thinking in students by building upon lower-level reasoning skills.
Teachers can use Bloom’s taxonomy, and other approaches supported by technology, to experience optimal ingenuity, innovation, and convergent thinking while ensuring more time for individual instruction. It’s no longer about enabling students to perform functions as future workers, but instead it’s about empowering them to think independently and design their own future in tomorrow’s workplace.
The pandemic, among other social factors, has impacted education to the degree that priorities must be reconsidered to effectively maximize education continuity, relevance, and resilience. Essentially, a combination of technology and higher-level creative thinking skills are needed to innovate and shape future work.
We need our learning systems to encourage youth to develop their own visions about what it means to connect and flourish in their constantly emerging world and equip them with the skills to pursue those visions.”1
Teachers Are Now Facilitators
To prepare students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, teachers must transition into being facilitators of learning beyond their own personal expertise. They should allow technology to support students’ flexibility in gaining skills and pursuing passions. Lecturing to a group of students and expecting them to gain value from a broad presentation is now a limited teaching model. Instead, teachers need to transition into facilitating learning that meets students where they are in their thinking and engagement process.
Teaching strategies have evolved to accommodate the new standards in the classrooms that operate in remote, hybrid, and in-class scenarios. Some of these teaching strategies include:
- Flipped classroom, where students complete class work at home and participate in hands-on activities in the classroom
- Active learning, a teaching methodology that encourages students to participate directly and learn by “doing”
- Collaborative classrooms, meaning student-centered, shared environments that appeal to tech-savvy, visual learners who play an active role in learning
Intel offers an Educator’s Guide to eLearning with tools, resources, and strategies to keep your students engaged.
As an example of the new learning environment, a teacher can have one student watching a video lecture, another in a virtual learning lab, and a group collaborating on a project with the same topic. This range of activities occurs concurrently, regardless of each student’s physical location. Having a breadth of modalities ensures students have personalized learning as well as time with the teacher when and how they need it. Powering this level of varied learning requires leveraging technology for efficiency and performance.
While teachers and their students are the epicenter of any learning environment, school administrators also need to understand the education technology landscape to provide the support, resources, and technology investment to enable personalized learning. It can be easy to defer student preparation for future employment opportunities to higher education, community colleges, or vocational schools. However, workplace requirements and technology are changing so rapidly that students must become self-learners even in K‒12 learning environments.
Education Strategies and Intel
Education is evolving to support teachers in developing individual student potential and preparing students to become self-learners so they can innovate the world tomorrow. Intel® technologies are shaping the world and modern classrooms.
Intel has been a technology leader in the Third and now Fourth Industrial Revolutions for the last half century. As a result, Intel is not only leading core technology innovation but is also seeing new applications of emerging technologies as they happen in a variety of industries and workplaces. It’s a natural focus to prepare for our collective future workforce through students and their education, especially as supported by education technology (EdTech).
EdTech connects students with the right technology for skill-learning opportunities. Technological advances are happening rapidly, and students need to pace their learning accordingly. The purpose of EdTech is to support students’ increased collaboration, student engagement, and meaningful takeaways. The net result of using EdTech effectively is to build student skills that then bridge the talent gap in the future job market.
At the same time, teachers also need better devices, better connectivity, and easy manageability to power their classrooms. The right technology that handles peripheral hardware well—with appropriate processing power—gives teachers more time with students and capabilities for teaching. Technology enables the most significant classroom resource—the teacher—to focus more on teaching. Some examples include:
- Interactive whiteboards: Interactive flat panel displays that help make quality education accessible to all students
- Artificial intelligence (AI): Solves highly complex education challenges, identifies learning patterns, and better predicts student behavior and outcomes
- Intel Unite® solution: Supports existing software and hardware at schools for more-immersive classrooms
Going beyond technology, Intel also supports teachers in leading the transformation in education through various frameworks, one of which is the Intel® Skills for Innovation (Intel® SFI) initiative. The Intel® SFI framework guides educators and decision-makers as they develop and implement active, engaging learning experiences to meet skill-building goals. With Intel® SFI, educators and decision-makers can confidently integrate technology into their curriculum and help students develop the skills needed to meet the challenges of today’s technology-dominated world.
Intel offers a large collection of resources to help educators learn about and integrate Intel® SFI. The Intel® SFI Starter Pack allows educators and administrators to integrate new, technology-based learning experiences that can build students’ higher-order cognitive skills in schools. This pack helps students engage and become interested in their curriculum subjects with hands-on activities that are suitable for remote or in-class learning.
Also within the Intel® SFI initiative, educators can access the Intel® SFI Professional Development Suite to find personal development tools and lesson plans that help transform current teachers to 4IR-ready teachers. There are 80+ hours of eLearning and in-person workshops designed to keep teachers current with trends impacting students’ future and tools that maximize learning outcomes. Topics range from adapting technology to mentoring innovative mindsets. The step-up model has been carefully curated to address educator needs no matter their personal experience with adapting technology in learning.
Through another Intel program, Intel® Future Skills, students learn problem solving and discovery through science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning. Students are challenged with hands-on, real-world innovation projects that encourage them to think differently, fail fast, and develop a growth mindset. When students enter the workforce, they will be expected to have an understanding of how technology works, regardless of career choice. Even more, these students will shape the world through their ability to reason and innovate. Technology is the accelerant that supports their higher-thinking capabilities.
Optimal Student Learning Experiences
Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution presents new challenges and opportunities for teachers and students. Technologies are converging in education to support:
- Increased access
- Skill building
- Personalized teaching
Intel is working with educators, administrators, and policy makers to help create a holistic ecosystem. It is vital to support optimal learning for today’s students who will shape our collective future through their work, innovation, and creativity.
Intel is also committed to helping close the digital divide that prevents students from accessing the technology they need for success in the classroom and beyond. The Intel Online Learning Initiative was started to support education-focused nonprofit organizations and business partners to provide students without access to technology with devices and online learning resources. In close partnership with public school districts, the initiative will enable PC donations, online virtual resources, study-at-home guides, and device connectivity assistance. The Intel Online Learning Initiative builds on Intel’s long-standing commitment to technology that improves learning, particularly in underserved communities.
Intel’s goal is to help teachers, administrators, and school systems deliver powerful, engaging, and stimulating student learning experiences.