Have you been watching your children play with their technology? They may be concentrating on reaching the next game level, building the virtual city, or vanquishing all the monsters. Children’s play is a clue to their interests as adults. Think about your own childhood. What did you find most interesting? Do you find yourself in a job that uses those skills today? I hope you do - I know I do!
While technology does supplant reading and creative play, much to the chagrin of most parents, it does prepare the child for a technological society where new jobs will use these skills. Consider where your child may find the source of future paychecks based on current interests:
- Project manager with data analytics and leadership skills. After your child is done beating the bad guys in his game, show him the skills he used to accomplish his goal. Did he plan ahead? Consider alternative strategies? Use all available tools? See how his video game is actually preparing him for the future?
- Drone designer. Yes, it’s coming – the day when we all accept drones that deliver packages, find criminals, and track lost children. Help your child to hypothesize what she will do with her own fleet of drones. Maybe she can write a story about that fleet, thereby developing literacy skills necessary to market these drones. Go beyond the video game and always find links to real life.
- Personal medical coach. Have you been confused by medical options, insurance specifications, and healthy lifestyle recommendations? We are all being inundated with the new medicine. Gone are the days when you visited one doctor for all your needs and that person prescribed a pill or syrup to ease your symptoms. Look at your child playing with the doctor kit. Consider the questions that will help him or her to consider the patient’s need – What is your patient (doll, dog, bear, etc.) confused about? How might somebody else help the patient? What kind of technology will help the "patient?" The use of open-ended questions like these will open your child’s eyes to the possibilities of a career in the new medicine.
- Software designer and engineer. These jobs are already in place, but their focus may be slightly different in 2030. Auto will take on a new definition as cars can be programmed to go from Point A to Point B without a driver. Streets will have software directing these cars, managing the traffic flow, and ensuring personal safety. Does your child play a racing game on the tablet, moving it up, down, left, and right to achieve racing success? Then work with him or her to consider software options that will help the driver.
What are YOU doing to prepare your child for a career in the future?