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Read Dr. Larson's earlier Community Columns below or here.

Technological disruptive change is becoming a compelling force in our society.  Every public institution and economic sector must accept and embrace the need to be adaptive and flexible to embrace technological advancements as opportunities. The pace of change is fast and no one wants to be left behind.  

Experts use the phrase disruptive change to describe how advances in areas such as technology change the way people have always done things. Just what are the technological disruptive changes, taking place now, that will shape our future? Listed below are a few that we need to be aware of:

1. Adaptive Manufacturing - Also known as 3-D printing, this technology uses a digital map to print solid objects in layers of many materials. Individuals can use a 3-D printer to make household objects. A 7-year-old girl who was born missing three fingers on one hand is looking to make history by throwing out the first pitch at every Major League Baseball game – using her 3-D printed hand. This 3-D printing will cut construction time for some structures from years to months.

2.  Artificial Intelligence -  Human intelligence processes such as learning, reasoning and self-correction will be facilitated by machines. This will allow for virtual assistants or advisors who will act as knowledgeable workers.

3.  Autonomous Vehicles - Tech and car companies are promising to deliver self-driving consumer vehicles by 2025. While traffic infrastructure, safety and legal restrictions will slow changes, this no doubt will disrupt longstanding transportation sectors such as trucking and taxis. 

4.  Digital Currencies - Known as Bitcoin, this virtual currency – money that exists mainly as computer code – is being used for person-to-person online transactions. 

5.  Machine Learning - This type of artificial intelligence enables computers to learn without being programmed. It adapts and evolves, just by being exposed to new data and information.  Examples include speech and handwriting recognition to self-driving systems that recognize objects and topography on the road. 

6.  Next-Gen Genomics - More precise science will be used for imaging the units that make up DNA with rapidly advancing computational and analytic capabilities.  This could potentially improve health and human longevity. 

7.  Software Robotics - These office robots will automate tasks that humans normally do, such as analyzing entries, writing responses, booking tickets and conducting research. Armed with voice control, they will be efficient office assistants. 

Because technology and automation is disrupting much of our traditional framework of work skills, our talented public school teachers are challenging students to think and develop in-depth understandings as they apply their academic learning.  Career success in the future will depend less on what students know and more on their creative skills and dispositions.  Because much of manual work is being automated, students are learning to be creators, inventors, designers and entrepreneurs. They are learning the value of taking risks, being resourceful and exhibiting ingenuity and enterprise. We’re not just preparing students for careers that don’t exist yet, we’re preparing them to be adaptive and skilled at changing their work as technology makes new frontiers possible.

David F. Larson, Ed.D.

Read Dr. Larson's earlier essays below

2017-18 Community Columns
Preparing for the future of work here

Good to see summer learning becoming the norm here

2016-17 Community Columns

Education is not just another commodity here

Public schools benefit from richness of diversity here

Be wary of snake oil salesmen in education here

Characteristics of Strong Education Systems here

Leveraging the election for growth here

Glenbard emphasizes importance of service to others here

Challenging courses prepare teens for college, careers here

High School Parenting is Gardening, Not Carpentry here

Fight the Summer Slide here

2015-16 Community Columns

Equity in Advanced Placement here

Growth Mindset Makes a Difference here

Send Consistent Message Opposing Underage Drinking here

Hold Hands and Stick Together here

The Value of Rigor in the Classroom here

Studying the Arts Enhances Student Achievement here

Parent Involvement is Important here

Making America Great Again here

Property Tax Freeze Would Harm Students here

Teachers Advance Their Craft During Summer here.

2014-15 Community Columns

Be Wary; Education Cuts Never Heal here

Increasing Responsibilities of Public Education here

The Governor's Playbook for Compassion here

Important Partnership here

Strategic Planning Key to Success of iPad Implementation here

The "Year of Over Testing" here

School Funding Reform Act Senate Bill 16 here

Watch the Screen Time here

2013-14 Community Columns

Attack Season here

Impressive Community Support here

Referendum Focus here

New Year's Resolution here

Celebrating Diversity here

Shrinking Middle Class here

Future Ready here

Fight Summer Learning Loss here

2012-13 Community Columns

Public Education is Inclusive, Diverse here

Transparency Builds Community Trust here

Technology Will Transform Learning here

High Levels Of Communication here

Pension Reform Observations here

Key Habits of Fiscally Responsible Districts here

Doubly Impressive here

High Expectations For All here

Democracy here

Those Special Teachers here

Football Start here

Freshman Transition here