I am a little ashamed that there has not been more discussion here about the application of the new economic landscape being created by technology applications as discussed in the book What Would Google Do? The author, Jeff Jarvis, even tried to get the conversation rolling by offering the first comments (thanks Mr. Jarvis!). I have had several people stop me in the hallways and even on the streets to give me a little feedback and agree that we need to be more transparent as a school and do all we can to get more community input. BUT……although they said we needed to procure more input, very little input has been given. Some folks just do not want to leave a comment on the web. It might haunt them or something I guess? Anyway, before I move on to the next book and what it might mean to me (yes, I am deluded and think somebody might care, right mom?), I would like to talk about one more of the author’s new rules for the new age…..
“We have shifted from an economy based on scarcity to one based on abundance. The control of products or distribution will no longer guarantee a premium and a profit.”
I know I have said this before but I am not going to let it go! We are no longer the community bank of information and “knowledge”! Information is no longer scarce. It is quite abundant! We certainly do not control it or its distribution. (some)Home school students are doing quite well and are being excepted to major colleges with their ACT or SAT score without a “real” high school diploma. We better wake up! Be gone the days where education is an assembly line to immerse students in the right doses of each academic area! We could simply buy on-line curriculum and sit our students in front of computers and have them do programmed learning. If information assimilation is the goal, we might as well do just that!(update…we already are!) I know, I know, we are still in the business of transmitting culture. That is an important part of what we do, but we could do it while making our students learn to use 21st Century skills. They must learn to discriminate between sources of information, they have to master working as a member of a team, they must think critically and make judgements. Students today must learn to communicate using multiple mediums. They have to be able to make a formal argument using research to back it up as well as participate in a personal learning network that uses less formal communication standards. We have to get them away from linear thinking and force them to think and create in more complex learning environments that challenge them with multidisciplinary problems.
Because the world is changing and educational needs are becoming much different, we cannot wait for someone to come save us and tell us what to do. I believe that if we do not reshape public education soon we will simply be replaced by those who figure out how to deliver what is needed before we do. If you do not believe me ask folks from the travel, newspaper, photography, bookseller…etc. business. They will tell you their world got turned upside down and most of them are still trying to figure out what happened. That is, when they are not looking for a new way to make a living.
I ask you, do we need to modify what we do?