Friday, January 04, 2013

Preparation For Working From Home -- Please Comment!

Today's post is the first of many planned for this year (remember my New Year's resolutions?) designed to generate discussion among educators. The topics will be intentionally provocative to build a meaningful conversation. I am convinced that we all need deeper conversations, considering the ideas and views of many others, if we are going to have a chance of making sense of this revolutionary digital era and the changes that are taking place around us in life and education. Therefore, I am humbly asking for your responses and participation to this post, as well as others throughout the year, not for my sake, but for the sake of our shared work in education and in proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord.

This morning I read a statistic from the Harvard Business Journal which stated that in a few years 1.4 billion people around the world will be working from home. That got me thinking about whether we are truly preparing our students for this type of work. Our educational structure was formed as a response to the Industrial Revolution, not the Digital Revolution. These 1.4 billion workers are regularly collaborating with colleagues using virtual tools. The also must learn to manage both time and digital distractions in new ways for improved productivity, taking responsibility for these tasks when there is no manager physically watching over their work.

What we need to provide our students to prepare them for this work role that many will have? Here are a few ideas:
  • Regular collaboration with others using digital tools such as Google Docs, Skype, and other communication tools. 
  • Collaborate in a variety of different manners. For instance, collaboration with classroom peers, with other school classes, with other schools, with those with similar interests and aptitudes, etc.
  • Create intentional discussions with students about the similarities and differences between the traditional workplace and working from home or within virtual environments.
  • Work with students to plan for dealing with digital distractions, listing those potential distractions, as well as identifying specific management strategies.
  • Build classroom activities to incorporate shared virtual tools whenever possible.
What specific strategies can you identify to help prepare students for this increasing work reality? Help us all work together for the good of students by sharing your ideas as a comment to this post.


  1. I think you list is pretty inclusive! My two cents: I like to stress the timelessness of collaboration over the web with students. Working with LA and writing, I do a lot of editing on google docs student work. They read comments and we resolve the issues - sometimes even on Saturday or Sunday! I love it when I get contacted by a student outside of class. So much more can be learned in on going conversations about writing, and anything else, I imagine. Before becoming a Google Apps School this was not happening.

  2. The bigger question is how can we shift the mindset of parents that this is important! That the classrooms of yesteryears is not what will make your student successful tomorrowyears. Even inside Lutheran Schools we have a great divide. We have the schools who are on the cutting edge, the schools who are just doing the same thing, thinking the kids need to learn, but it worked for the last 50 years, why change, and then we have our Classical Ed schools. I don't know much about our classical ed Lutheran schools, so I don't want to say something that is not true, but what I get out of it is they teach a lot from rote memory. This next semester I am teaching as an elective to our 6,7,and 8th graders. I am using It has evolved into a fun but learning curriculum plan that will help students be prepared in the future.

    As for what category my school is in? We are doing some great things, but there is so much more we want to do.