Dr. Victoria Tuzlokova is the Head of Professional Development and Research Unit at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat. Tuzlokova focused in her Keynote Address on helping students reach the skills and achievements required for them in the 21st Century. The audience hall at the Rotana in Salalah was filled with lifelong educators from nearly ten different institutions in the Dhofar region of Oman.
Tuzlokova began her address by asking the audience at the Rotana how many participants on this date had been born in the 21st Century. No one in the room raised his or her hand.
Next, Tuzlokova reminded her audience to recall what it was like when there were no computers, no cell phones, and little modern technology in the classroom, i.e. back in the 20th Century. First of all, she continued, twentieth century knowledge was targeted at acquiring the "what" or "whats" of this world.
In contrast, Tuzlokova noted that 21st Century knowledge is not only about the " whats" but equally focused on the "whys" and "hows" of our work-world and universe. The abilities required nowadays in the workplace and life by the main stakeholders include:
(1) Locate, assess, and represent new information as quickly--and as well-- as possible.
(2) Smoothly--and fairly quickly-- communicate to our collaborators [team members] and others what has been discovered or acquired [or which information still needs to be acquired and how this is to be undertaken].
(3) Become adaptable, creative, & innovative in a system while constantly keeping our eyes on the big picture.
(4) Think and learn for oneself, but doing this more often by using external help.
Knowledge and skills of these types require us working with important related technologies, which are accelerating our information and creating new-but-ubiquitous learning and workspaces at an ever-increasing pace.
Such skills and attainments in knowledge management provide the high wage and high skill workor jobs of our present and future. Because of this, there is already a huge gap between wages at one end of the wage spectrum and the rest of our workers at the other end of the spectrum.
Most of all, 21st Century Knowledge is seldom produced by one person, but it is usually created by groups or networks of groups. This is why the abilities to communicate and to interact with other groups [and in different media or mediums] is so important. We all need to be able to share or give-and-take with others.
As well, we need to focus on both the theoretical and practical evidences before us. For this new way of focusing, a new mindset is required. Here is our context and the student profile to it here in Oman. Currently,
(A) there is a lack of continuity between schools and colleges or training centers at all levels.
(B) there is a lack engagement and curiosity at most levels and across disciplines as well.
(C) there is often a lack of positive attitudes towards learning.