‘Design Thinking’ Approach Aims to Train Dutch Students’ Ability to Solve Problems | US News


Creating is just one element of the “design thinking” classes now installed in 400 Dutch primary schools. In education, this approach focuses on identifying new challenges as they develop and finding potential solutions. As Harvard’s Graduate School of Education notes, this framework can be used to design specific courses or for group projects.

Having empathy and critical thinking skills are crucial for this educational approach, says the program’s inventor, Emer Beamer. An Irish native living in the Netherlands, she founded her nonprofit organization Designathon Works five years ago. Since then, 23,680 children have worked with design thinking principles and the project has already spread to more than three dozen other countries.

Source: ‘Design Thinking’ Approach Aims to Train Dutch Students’ Ability to Solve Problems | Best Countries | US News

Macron pension reform: France paralyzed by biggest strike in years | BBC News


France’s largest nationwide strike in years has severely disrupted schools and transport.

Workers are angry about planned pension reforms that would see them retiring later or facing reduced payouts.

School and transport workers have been joined by police, lawyers and hospital and airport staff for a general walkout.

President Emmanuel Macron wants to introduce a universal points-based pension system.

That would replace France’s current system, which has 42 different pension schemes across its private and public sectors, with variations in retirement age and benefits.

Source: Macron pension reform: France paralyzed by biggest strike in years – BBC News

The Best Way to End Modern Slavery? Enabling Legal Migration | Time


In the case of African men and women forced to sell their bodies or labor for little to no pay in Europe, it has a lot to do with an immigration policy out of sync with the demands of the European labor market, combined with the inevitability that young Africans will migrate, no matter the risk, in search for better opportunities than they can find at home.

What the International Labor Organization calls the “new slavery” keeps an estimated 25 million people trapped in debt bondage or other forms of forced labor, producing many of the goods that keep the global economy going.

Forced marriage, which is also considered a form of modern slavery, afflicts another 15.4 million women and young girls. Modern slavery doesn’t come with the iron chains and auctions of the past.

Today’s restraints take the form of withheld documents, the possibility of exposure, and the threat of deportation.

Modern slavery, and the human trafficking networks that enable it, is a $150 billion a year criminal enterprise that spans the world.

Source: The Best Way to End Modern Slavery? Enabling Legal Migration | Time

Pluck and hard work, or luck of birth? Two stories, one man | Aeon Essays


Occupants of the American meritocracy are accustomed to telling stirring stories about their lives. The standard one is a comforting tale about grit in the face of adversity – overcoming obstacles, honing skills, working hard – which then inevitably affords entry to the Promised Land.

But you can also tell a different story, which is more about luck than pluck, and whose driving forces are less your own skill and motivation, and more the happy circumstances you emerged from and the accommodating structure you traversed.

Source: Pluck and hard work, or luck of birth? Two stories, one man | Aeon Essays

Where are all the good jobs? | John Hurley and Enrique Fernández-Macías


A key finding is that capital-city regions are generating a disproportionate share of new employment in well-paid jobs in most member states (see chart). Employment is growing faster in these regions, as is job quality—as shown by the growing share of net new employment in well-paid jobs.

The advantages of large capital-city regions are abundant, as centres of learning and entertainment as well as political power and decision-making. These have tended to more than match any disadvantages, in terms of cost of living, cost of labor or congestion.

The largest metropolitan areas benefit in particular from ‘thick labor markets’, with the opportunities provided by a variety and volume of firms and employers, a matching variety and volume of qualified workers and all in close proximity.

Source: Where are all the good jobs? – John Hurley and Enrique Fernández-Macías

Google Employees Protest to Fight for the ‘Future of Tech’ | WIRED


The protesters who gathered outside Google’s San Francisco office on Friday had a single, simple demand: give two employees their jobs back, immediately. But the group of 200 Googlers made clear more was at stake. It was, as one software engineer put it, “a struggle for the future of tech.”

The two employees at the center of the squall, Rebecca Rivers and Laurence Berland, had been placed on administrative leave a few weeks ago. Neither have been given a formal explanation from Google. Rivers and Berland believe they are being retaliated against for speaking up, as part of a small but vocal group of employee activists who have criticized various company policies and projects over the past few years.

Source: Google Employees Protest to Fight for the ‘Future of Tech’ | WIRED

Training the Workforce of the Future | EE Times


There’s a lot of bellyaching about a skills gap and the need to retrain the U.S. workforce as we enter the era of advanced manufacturing, a reference to the increasing and inevitable automation on the factory floor. U.S. corporations frequently complain they can’t fill jobs requiring skills such as operating numerical controlled machines.

“Fine — what do you need?” say educators on the front line. Those at community colleges are particularly eager to reshape curricula to help fill those advanced manufacturing positions — and do it without driving students deep into debt.

Long at the forefront of those efforts is the California Community College system, which originated the concept of “stackable credentials” focused on technical courses that meet the immediate needs of potential employers.

Source: Training the Workforce of the Future | EE Times

Putting the worker in the future of work


There is a heated debate going on in America right now about what the future of work will look like. Thousands of news stories have covered the potential impacts experts believe artificial intelligence, automation, and robots may have on jobs.

Numerous conferences focus on the future of work and feature discussions with technology leaders, academics, and industry executives.

The future of work is even a trending theme in the 2020 presidential race and the subject of a question in the Democratic presidential debate earlier this fall.

Ironically, the voices of workers themselves are largely absent from the debates, decisions, and discussions that will shape their future. Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, lamented, “Too often, discussions about the future of work center on technology rather than on the people who will be affected by it.”

Source: Putting the worker in the future of work

Companies Are Judged More Harshly For Their Ethical Failures If The CEO Is A Woman | Research Digest


Gender inequality in the business world has been much discussed over the last few years, with a host of mentoring schemes, grants, business books and political activity all aimed at getting women into leadership positions.

But what happens when this goal is achieved? According to new research, unequal gender dynamics still prevail even at the very top. Nicole Votolato Montgomery and Amanda P. Cowen from the University of Virginia found that women CEOs are judged far more harshly than their male counterparts when a business fails ethically.

However, when a failure is down to incompetence, they find, women receive less negative backlash.

Source: Companies Are Judged More Harshly For Their Ethical Failures If The CEO Is A Woman – Research Digest

What jobs are affected by AI? Better-paid, better-educated workers face the most exposure


Artificial intelligence (AI) has generated increasing interest in “future of work” discussions in recent years as the technology has achieved superhuman performance in a range of valuable tasks, ranging from manufacturing to radiology to legal contracts. With that said, though, it has been difficult to get a specific read on AI’s implications on the labor market.

In part because the technologies have not yet been widely adopted, previous analyses have had to rely either on case studies or subjective assessments by experts to determine which occupations might be susceptible to a takeover by AI algorithms.

What’s more, most research has concentrated on an undifferentiated array of “automation” technologies including robotics, software, and AI all at once.

The result has been a lot of discussion—but not a lot of clarity—about AI, with prognostications that range from the utopian to the apocalyptic.

Source: What jobs are affected by AI? Better-paid, better-educated workers face the most exposure