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Innovating Youth Education for 21st Century Skills

The society we live today was unimaginable 10 Years before. It’s not just examples of facebook, YouTube or mobile phones in every hand. Its the ICT innovations that changed the world. In 1970s we had little Tuition for weak students. It started to grow in 1980s, grew big in 90s and today Tuition has become a defacto where bright students takes most tuition. Societies Innovate when competition and resource limitations are faced. In World Telecentres appeared in 1990s, bubbled in 2005s now we see sustainable Telecentres growing in the in mainstream.

In the ICT4D arena many ideas have been bloomed. Some managed to become mature taking path finding approaches. ICT4D journeys which acquired mixed experiences. Some excelled, some got tired and vanished. The ones which matured, got kept moving, along the vision using the lessons learned from experiences to get further. All the insights may not be fore-sights, but one idea to be successful, it may be worth testing several. Then ICT for sights are become global examples.

From the experiences we understand that future can't be predicted. Future has more parameters than any scientific equation. Yet experienced human minds can process such complex equations to imagine shape of the things to come. Those who can build such scenarios will create novel ideas that would be paid back in future. They will excel when the time comes. Arthur C. Clarke imagined the shape of the new communication, he wrote it and others followed.

Last decade many developing countries had been focusing in using ICT as a tool to develop the society. When we look at experiences gained in a learned perspective, we will find that ICT is more than a tool, but a foundation which can be used to build futures. especially In the area of education, ICT has helped the word to progress much by connecting schools, introducing online education, setting up distance vocational training facilities, and introducing of ICT in to main stream curriculum. Where will we go from here in innovating education?

It’s clear that tomorrow’s world will test youth for 21st century readiness. Every nation will continue to compete in a global economy that demands innovation. As we are learning today's global education approaches seen as outdated and obsolete. People are talking of radical re-generation of education. Educators are more thinking what is more important in education? Whether it’s memorizing of the prime god of Mesapothemia ? or knowing why Messapothemia was demised? The latter knowledge will help a person and world in the efforts for survival?

Hence educators in the world over re-thinking of changing education paradigms to make education more contributing to innovation. Educators are thinking along new perspectives like four Cs, which is an education concept gaining high recognition in developed countries.

The four Cs are
  • 1. Critical thinking and Problem solving
  • 2. Communication
  • 3. Collaboration
  • 4. Creativity and innovation.

In United States leading schools are already following this idea by aligning education curriculum to 4Cs. Looking at 4Cs we can immediately tell that 4Cs are about new media skills like internet, social networks that have become dominant in shaping world. Hence ICT is a core 21st Century skill to align 4Cs for the educational curriculum. We need to train every youth to use ICT to solve problems effectively, and to communicate locally and globally using creative media, and collaborate with others for innovation. If the concept of knowledge society to become real, we need to find new ways to deliver knowledge to people more creatively, more efficiently using new channels like social networks and mobiles.

In time to come, nations will be measured how innovative they would be and what new knowledge they process and how they communicate such knowledge and collaborate creating solutions to problems. If we are to develop our youth to take 21st century challenges and win, we need to make them more innovative. We know that, Innovation is an output of creativity which can be enabled by ICT. Hence skills of using ICT for creativity matters as much as ICT literacy for daily life.

Adobe Youth Voices Program designed to supports young people to use of cutting-edge multimedia tools to communicate and share their ideas, demonstrate their potential, and create a positive social impact in where they live. In this initiative 2 educators were trained from Sri Lanka. Following is one of the creations of Adobe educator from Sri Lanka. Adobe Youth Voices Program will be initiated in Sri Lanka in 5 Schools, 3 Telecentres, a disabled school and a orphanage to train 100+ Youth and expand further to train creative media educators and youth more next year.

This media peice was created during Adobe Youth Voices Training conducted by Thinking IT Global 2011. This experimental video done as a digital story involved writing a poem, creating a story board, field photography, photo editing and video editing process, used a nikon professional camera, photoshop elements 9, premiere elements 9 and audacity software. The whole production was done in electronic medium including exhibition.

Niranjan Meegammana
Adobe Youth Voices - Educator

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