Today’s post comes from Education Speaks editorial board member Christine Geraci.
Last week, we talked about whether or not we should feel guilty about “digitally distracting” our children with mobile devices and educational apps. Today, I’d like to riff off of that a bit and shine the spotlight on the digital prowess of our soon-to-be high school graduates.
Most high school students I encounter have smartphones and tablets, or at least know how to use them. Ever see two teenagers texting or Facebooking one another in the same room? Yeah, I see a lot of that too. Regardless: Knowing your way around mobile technology and social media is definitely a marketable skill for any college- or workforce-bound senior.
But is it going to land a kid a job? According to this study, probably not.
The Millenial Branding and Experience Inc. study, released May 14, shows an overwhelming majority of employers surveyed (as in, more than 92 percent) cite basic communication skills, a positive attitude and teamwork skills as absolutely essential to landing entry-level positions.
A few months ago, I moderated a discussion between residents at a school budget community conversation hosted by one of the school districts in our region. When asked to provide feedback on the district’s overall curriculum, a significant number said they wanted to see more emphasis on building soft skills such as writing and oral communication.
One local business owner sitting at my table said he wanted to hire local high school students, but often refrained because they didn’t look customers in the eye when speaking to them, and wrote in abbreviated ‘text speak.’ In his opinion, this was a direct result of too much exposure to tech gadgets and social media. Although he agreed digital tools have their place in education, basic writing and speaking skills – you know, with regular pencils and actual voices — shouldn’t take a backseat as a result.
What do you think of his opinion?
And based on the results of the Milennial Branding study, how do you think digital technology helps or hinders the building of soft skills employers want in new hires?