Thriving in the new industrial revolution

A recent report on jobs and skills by the World Economic Forum outlines the remarkable landscape our children will be working, leading and living in:

Today, we are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Developments in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology, to name just a few, are all building on and amplifying one another. This will lay the foundation for a revolution more comprehensive and all-encompassing than anything we have ever seen. Smart systems -- homes, factories, farms, grids or cities -- will help tackle problems ranging from supply chain management to climate change. The rise of the sharing economy will allow people to monetize everything from their empty house to their car.

These changes are immensely exciting, but they will also trigger enormous upheavals. As educators we must be alive to the disruptive power of the so-called fourth industrial revolution, doing all we can to ensure our students thrive in this new age.

And, more than ever, this means we must foster and celebrate the learning agility imbued within the IB programme of study.

What can happen in the absence of agility? The fate of Blockbuster, once the global market leader in video rental, is a salutary reminder. Its business model rendered stunningly obsolete by internet streaming, the company closed its doors for good in 2014. Indeed, it seems hard to believe that we once journeyed to an actual store to rent videotapes! 

It is clear there are huge challenges ahead, but what will separate those who thrive and those who do not is the eagerness and ability to tackle those challenges, knowing there is much, much more to learn.

Rose Threlfall