Are You Teaching Freelancing?

When kids graduate high school, they typically have three options:  some type of collegiate experience, work, or the military. Not any more.

It's time to add a fourth.  An entrepreneurial career option as a freelancer.  

Some data will provide context.  Intuit and Emergent Research have recently released a report that indicates that there will be 7.6 million Americans working in the on-demand economy by 2020, up 4.4 million from 2017.  Edelman Berland estimates that 34% of the U.S. workforce is involved in freelancing, and with a workforce estimated at 157 million, that translates into 53.7 million people that are engaged in some form of freelancing.

You can add me as one of those that work in the on-demand economy as an independent freelancer.  It’s not easy.  Actually it’s a pretty hard thing to do.

But, in my opinion, the number of students graduating high school and choosing to freelance as an entrepreneur is only going to increase.

Given that, are schools preparing kids to be entrepreneurial freelancers? Are schools providing the learning opportunities that will enable students to seek their own path and build the requisite skills that enable them to follow their passion(s) in an on-demand economy?

What’s required?  It can begin with a commitment to provide learning experiences where new skills set are explored, developed and directed towards building an entrepreneurial disposition that is rooted in confidence, creativity, boldness, connectivity, and determination.  That skill set also includes how to use a range of technologies to create and connect, the ability to use different types of spaces for work, developing social media marketing campaigns, and other mundane stuff like accounting, selling, doing presentations, interviewing, being banker, web developer, health care provider, administrative assistant, support staff, travel agent, and founder, all of that rolled into just you.

How could these experiences begin in kindergarten and follow a pathway throughout school where the ability to negotiate and employ what I just described becomes a reality?  That’s the question.

Adding another dimension to the choices that kids have at graduation should provoke the imagination.  Imagine the new ways to engage students in experiential learning while developing community-based partnerships that could support entrepreneurialism and freelancing.  Imagine new spatial designs that could support a co-working environment and a renewed emphasis on technology as a tool that provides the 24-7 platform for creating the connections necessary for entrepreneurism.  Imagine that freelancing is another viable option and one that all kids should have the option to choose.

Most importantly, imagine that teaching freelancing a great way to reinvent school and what it means for kids.


David Jakes - A recognized leader in the educational technology field, David Jakes focuses on using the design process to support the organizational growth, development and change required to create relevant and meaningful conditions for student learning in schools.  David’s thought leadership includes addressing the increased need to develop agile, connected, and personalized learning environments that support a contemporary education, and how the use of technology can be reimagined to create boundless opportunities for learning.  Before his current position as Chief Design Officer of David Jakes Designs, David spent almost three decades in education as a teacher, technologist, and administrator. David's design experience includes working as a Digital Designer and Strategist for CannonDesign and The Third Teacher+, a leading architecture firm and learning space consultancy.   David is a frequent presenter at national and international educational conferences where he speaks about the power and promise of a new expedition for learning, and the roles that all educators have in shaping that journey. 

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