technology

Modern Occupations: Multiple Levels of Knowledge & Responsibilities

In today’s modern world, technology makes information accessible but the technological developments also involve factors such as flickering screens, glaring light, fast speeds of information processing, and increased work demands that are both physically and psychologically trying. There are numerous campaigns petitioning for people to unplug, and it behooves people to do so from time to time to conserve their energy.

I perceive that modern middle and upper class have a mindset to their advantage, of knowing how to network, utilize the vast array of resources, interpret information, and integrate multiple levels of knowledge and responsibilities in order to thrive better despite the series of recessions hitting the United States in the past few decades. Those that do not have the confidence to access these points will fall further into the gaping hole of poverty and lack of education.

There were a few segments on NPR that I listened to on the radio lately about programs to teach low-income people about resetting their mindsets which they may have learned from their early developmental socialization and other programs that set low-income individuals up with middle-class mentors to teach them how to have the assertiveness to push harder. These and other factors may help to alleviate the economic atmosphere of mass discontent, job displacement, and declining quality of living. It does take a village to assist people with the transition from surviving to thriving.

It’s not even all about money, having or getting a job, networking, or being lucky. It’s about a lot of factors. It’s about navigating through a modern world, developing analytical and perceptive thinking skills, and knowing how to look at a world full of information and connecting the right dots in order to have the information and opportunities you really need. It’s also about networking, not just to have names in your book, but to link yourself to like-minded comrades to support each other through thick and thin, and through this recession, the hurdles of life, the transitions of life, and the joys of life. It’s primarily about knowing and respecting yourself first and foremost before you face this increasingly globalized world. If you don’t run with it, it will leave you far, far behind.

These are some modern occupations millennial career seekers grapple with:

  • Evaluating information, discarding information that is obsolete
  • Knowing the basics of economics, personal finance, investing, financial management calculations, and financial management software/websites like Microsoft Excel or checking interest rates on Bankrate.com
  • Knowing the basics of reading and understanding contracts and basic civil legal matters i.e. bill contracts, landlord-tenant laws, employment discrimination, FDIC limits
  • Knowing how to search the internet for information
  • Knowing and continually utilizing mathematics and understanding of statistics
  • How to read and understand a newspaper, including politics and the stock quotes
  • How to understand that politics is much, much, much, much, MUCH more than candidate commercials, late night comedy, South Park, and buzzwords
  • Quickly processing and responding to emails
  • Constantly learning new technologies and software
  • Communicating with people from diverse cultures
  • Speaking with higher-ups i.e. presidents, CEOs, commissioners
  • Being able to quickly analyze situations during travel, i.e. navigating urban train, bus, and taxi modes of transportation, learning the cities, economy, culture, and basics of language
  • Studying multiple languages in order to understand people better i.e. French, Italian, Korean, Japanese

Myself considered, I am still learning these things. I just graduated from university three months ago. I feel that I am temporarily struggling but I am fairly ambitious and connected enough to pull my weight and then some. I love to set goals and often find myself hitting walls trying to accomplish them, but I hate to give in.

I feel that there are opportunities everywhere and it takes an intrepid explorer to go out and seek them. We are capable!

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Technological Enhancement of Lifelong Learning

I would like to start with a video showing an excerpt of Bill Clinton speaking on lifelong learning. The entire transcript can be found here:

But this is an incredible thing that the most important thing I learned is that it’s important to keep on learning. That you should stay hungry and that the greatest gift can be even as your body begins to fail if your minds still working you need to use it.

The new modes of learning which are available to us today could not have been imagined when I was a child. There was no world wide web for public use. The most mobile way of making a lot of information available to a lot of people were by mobile libraries, cassette tapes, floppy disks, or VHS tapes.

It is difficult for me to feel completely competent with distance learning. I would not be capable of sitting around with only some online quizzes and downloadable information handouts. Why? Because my learning style is nearly 90% interpersonal and 80% intrapersonal. I learn best by observing people and interacting with them rather than hearing, reading, seeing, or acting something out. I like to argue, question, and debate. For me personally, if I am learning something I put it to the test until I feel it. These are my results from a multiple intelligences assessment from Edutopia:

learning

I found online classes out of curiosity about what they were like. I also felt that they were good trials for me to test whether or not I would like to consider certain disciplines if I were to get a masters degree. The options for certification can be good for resumes and LinkedIn.

I like the courses from Coursera because there are videos of the professors talking. Some of them are looking far off into the corner of the screen, talking in monotone, or reading from a paper and I usually drop their courses because they don’t seem personable for me. I found a professor who was dynamic, added humor, looked directly at the screen, and talked in natural conversational style, Michael Kerns, Professor and National Center Chair Department of Computer and Information Science of the University of Pennsylvania. I found that his lectures and the terms he presented were more memorable for me. My course dashboard on Coursera right now includes Introduction to Sustainable Development from Columbia University, Personal & Family Financial Planning from University of Florida, Networked Life from University of Pennsylvania, and Introduction to Financial Accounting from University of Pennsylvania. These are all free of charge.

For me personally, I felt like these options could be my second chance to do what I’m interested in doing. Although my education was better than most, from the University of California Riverside, I felt that I wasn’t given so much of a chance to explore or work with an academic adviser who was invested in my development. In lieu of the academic adviser I never had at UCR, I can be a free agent. Instead of having to wake up in the morning and sit at my computer at 6:58am to tap the F5 button to refresh the course registration page when it opens up at 7:00am or be doomed to taking filler courses that weren’t needed for my chosen discipline or any other reason, I can go into whatever I want or get out if I don’t like it. The classes never close, they’re never canceled. I am never wait-listed. I can learn at my own pace.

Discussion boards give the enrolled mates a chance to discuss ideas or get to know one another. The professors often add a syllabus, tips, advice, video lectures, quizzes, and downloadable readings. You can do what you want. Keep it or drop it. Go find something else. Learn what you want to learn. Autonomy is the key feature of distance learning.

FutureLearn has free courses from British higher learning institutions. OpenLearn offers free courses from The Open University. I have been brushing up on math from Khan Academy.