The two most important things we always need to learn to be successful are: 1) how to use the tools available to us, and 2) how to use our minds to best use the tools. And the important reality is that while the tools we need to learn to be successful change all the time, how we use our minds to best use those tools has never changed.

Clearly the tools we need to learn have changed from learning how to use a horse and plow to learning to use a gas station and the Internet. But, how we use our minds to best use those tools has not changed. Competencies like critical thinking, complex problem solving, collaboration, self-awareness, control of impulsivity, executive function, caring about yourself and others, were as important to the cave men as they are to use today.

Look at the evolution of the competencies we need to learn. The cave men did not need to learn to read or write. However, today, reading and writing are basic competencies that cross all activities. Additionally, today we need to learn to use proper online etiquette, recognize how our personal information may be collected and used online, and leverage access to a global community to increase our changes for success. Mastering these skills requires a basic understanding of the technology tools and the ability to make increasingly sound judgments about their use.

A key to make this happen is to learn how to use the technology available to us as tools to engage in creative, productive, life-long learning rather than simply consuming passive content.

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