Common Core’s decision to remove cursive from the classroom still ruffles feathers. Proponents of script argue that students need it to access historical documents, write quickly, and sign on the dotted line. Despite a persuasive case for cursive, technology took precedence. There is so much to teach and so little time to impart that knowledge.
Ivy Xu is the founder of BETA Camp, an online crash course in entrepreneurship and business for students. She agrees that priorities in the modern classroom need to change and shares five new-school life skills every child needs in today’s evolving market.
New-school life skill #1: Entrepreneurship:
Xu believes entrepreneurship is a critical skill for the future. “Entrepreneurial skills aren’t just for entrepreneurs,” she explains. “Everyone should be able to spot problems, brainstorm creative ideas, and design impactful solutions no matter which field they enter.”
Xu’s latest venture, BETA Camp, is a six-week online program giving students a jump start in entrepreneurship and business dynamics. “Together with my friend Yifan Zhou, I designed a virtual course to help teens develop business skills while building real-world, revenue-earning startups. Speakers from companies like Goldman Sachs and Google introduce participants to the inner workings of the business sector and point them toward the path to success.”
New-school life skill #2: Coding
Electronic devices are everywhere, and almost all of them are run by computers. Coders program everything from cash registers to traffic lights. Kids who learn coding today will advance tomorrow’s space exploration, life-saving medical technologies, and security systems. Their tech will lead the fight against global warming, polluted oceans, and food shortages. Their apps, robotics, and computing programs will shape the future.
“There will soon be more computers than humans in the world,” Xu predicts. “Kids won’t all grow up to be engineers, but they will need to speak with computers and understand how they work if they want to leverage their abilities and accomplish their goals.”Programs like this one where kids can build digital applications without code are a start to that revolution.
New-school life skill #3: Social Media
Kids are creative, and they want to be heard. Instead of discouraging students from using social media, teachers should train them to find their voice in a global community.
“For the first time in history, one person can speak directly to millions,” observes Xu. “Kids who harness the power of online platforms have a voice like no other generation. Constructively using social media puts the world at a student’s fingertips.”
New-school life skill #4: Personal Finance and Investing
Figures released in 2021 reveal that the wealthiest 1% in the US holds 27% of the country’s wealth, while the entire middle class has only 26.6%. Widespread financial literacy can change that. Financial literacy educates and empowers students. Learning to earn, grow, and manage money early guarantees a better life.
“With the explosion of online investing, cryptocurrencies, and other financial innovations, today’s kids have more avenues than ever to invest and build wealth for the future,” says Xu. “There is no excuse for failing to teach the basics of finance early.”
New-school life skill #5: Communication and Networking
Xu is a world traveler. Born in Beijing and raised in Canada, she eventually came to Silicon Valley to start her career. Though she describes herself as “location independent.,” she’s never without her network.
“Opportunities come from people,” Xu remarks. “In order to survive and thrive in our careers, we need allies, mentors, and friends. Networking involves soft skills such as empathy and hard skills such as crafting a cold DM. Kids need to cultivate these vital communication skills.
“It’s never too early to learn the skills you need,” Xu says. “Entrepreneurship, coding, social media, financial literacy, and networking lay the foundation for your future success.”