Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Five Disruptions that will Change Everything


     I had the pleasure of sitting in on a small group meeting last Friday where we discussed forward thinking about how we educate.  How will we need to prepare & equip teachers for the future of education?  Are we promoting digital literacy & higher level thinking, or are we still doing the same old "Dog in the Box" (excuse the inside joke) projects because they are comfortable & easy to facilitate?

     One of the interactive discussions we had was about the KnowledgeWorks Forecast 3.0. (to download or request a hard copy go to the knowledgeworks.org site) This forecast looks at five predicted disruptions that will change everything in education (& life) and how we deal with them will very likely determine the success of our students in the future.  The disruptions are coming, so it is up to us to either fear or embrace what will be critical to achieving success academically, socially, & professionally.  Brian Bailey @bcbailey64 said it well...
"There definitely IS a tsunami coming (in fact, it's already here) - some educators will adapt successfully (because they have the right attitude to life-long learning and are flexible in their thinking) and some will resist to the bitter end (which means the point at which they become irrelevant to a changing education context). It's a smarter strategy to learn all you can about new technologies and then manage and control them to the benefit of your teaching and your students' learning, rather than to remain uninformed. It's more FUN too!"
So without further ado, here are the five disruptions that the KnowledgeWorks Forecast 3.0 predicts and the discussion our group had about them.  If our discussion & thoughts spark your interest, I encourage you to go to the link to read/think about these disruptions and the implications to your classroom/district.

Shareable Cities:
Growing up we all had our rivals...many of us still do, but sharing is what it is about.  On one hand we compete with nearby cities & districts, on the other hand we do our students & community members a disservice if we don't mutually share & get better together.  This is a point that Dr. John Marschhausen @drjcm stresses in his "Fostering a Culture of Innovation" presentation.  The days of keeping great ideas in your classroom...in your building...in your district...those days need to be over.  Maybe we draw the line at sharing with the Chinese...but even that is over. (Still acceptable not to share with N. Korea though)  City population's will continue to increase & sharing the learning of others will continue to become more real time. The learning landscape will weave learning throughout the community & expand learning resources for all involved.  This will take the form of shared services, eschools, school/community partnerships, post-secondary options, & increased dual enrollment opportunities.  The bottom line is "PROGRESS CANNOT HAPPEN IN ISOLATION", if you are not helping others, you are not helping yourself.

 linkablenetworks.com
High-Fidelity Living:
The definition of High-Fidelity is the reproduction of sound with little distortion, giving a result very similar to the original.  We defined High-Fidelity living as the complete understanding of one's own personal knowledge.  This can be accomplished in part because of the tremendous amount of data that is being gathered & disseminated about you, how you live, what you know, & how you spend your time.  Don't think it so?  Just look at your key chain or wallet & count how many tags or cards you have from various businesses.  You may get a 3 cent perk, reward, paint color reminder, or info about when to change furnace filters (every three months by the way), but they get an in depth look at how to market to you.  They would rather give you a small incentive in order to get loyalty & the Intel on how to get the biggest bang for their buck when marketing to you.  How can we as teachers get the biggest bang for our time spent with students? Teachers can & have begun to guide knowledge based on flowing data (reminder data doesn't always have to be tests, don't fall into that trap of thinking).  A perfect example is Khan Academy which allows teachers to get instant feedback on how students are doing, where they are struggling  where they are excelling, & where they are trying, all wrapped up in data broken down which can guide instruction in the classroom.  The importance of all of this data out there is helping students to understand their Digital Footprint & how it shapes who you are...academically, socially, & eventually professionally.  To do that we as educators need to understand the importance of our digital footprint, how we make it & how it can be shaped.  Not sure where to start check out Alvin Trusty's @alvintrusty "Developing a Professional Digital FootPrint". One of the best sessions I have ever attended & stresses the importance of why some need to change their thinking, while others need to start thinking!!!


Democratized Startup:
businesspundit.com

In yesteryear we all started with the lemonade stand, good times & great business model based on the cuteness factor of a little kid asking "Sir would you wike to buy some womenade", but not sustainable as we all lose our cuteness.  Then of course the girls would babysit while the boys began delivering newspapers, mowing lawns, & shoveling snow.  Today anyone with a great idea can start a business with some hard work & good fortune.  Don't believe me, check out these top ten millionaire teens who have made their first million before the age of 20.  It makes me wonder if they passed their state achievement tests (which of course determine if they & their teachers are successful) or maybe if they were being to creative to give a rat's behind about a dysfunctional test.  None the less, shows like Shark Tank, where individuals can take concept to reality, only stress the importance of creativity & the entrepreneurial spirit that can lead to opportunities for success today more than ever before.  The Internet & social marketing afford more entrepreneurial opportunities for those who understand financial literacy & can really build something.  As schools are we actively preparing students to be productive adults by encouraging entrepreneurial opportunities like, building apps to solve problems, developing project solutions, organizing civic/social/community cooperatives, & bartering shared services?  These types of skills help students, solve problems, find themselves, & realize their potential. As educators, if you haven't already, we need to make the shift and begin teaching students how to think, not what to think.  A great segway into...


De-Institutionalized Production:
Life long learning is something we talk about, but is often thought of as more of a nice idea instead of a required practice.  We have to prepare students with a do it yourself mentality when it comes to learning.  As mentioned above, teaching students how to think is of the utmost importance.  More than ever before high school & college cannot be the end of learning or the end achievement by which one markets themselves.  As we share more, see Shareable Cities above, businesses & schools will do the same creating pools of specialists that are available via shared services.  Traditional work forces for companies & school districts will cease as the FTE goes bye bye & multiple end beneficiaries of your talent pay your combined salary.  How is this important to the thinking & abilities of our students and us as educators?  The ability to market yourself & create a strong personal branding will be of increased importance.  Sites like Linked-In (see mine as an example) where one can promote their abilities, hobbies, degrees, & talents will be one-stop shops for businesses or individuals looking to a la carte services. This could even translate into the idea of arranged time banks shared between companies for the purpose of shared services.  My strength becomes your strength, your strength becomes mine.  In a non-traditional workplace such as this, it is easy to see why personal branding/marketing will be an important concept to remain viable & relevant as an individual.  It also emphasizes the importance on life long learning, continued certification, attaining multiple credentials so on & so forth.  Short term, as educators, it highlights the question of what is more important, traditional grading or mastery.  A discussion I am sure many of you have already had or are in the midst of having.

ecx.images-amazon.com
Customizeable Value Webs:
Ok ladies, how many of you played with a mix & match barbie set or something similar growing up?  Guys, hope you didn't (not judging if you did), but you probably didn't build the original Lego plans more than once (if that) before you tore it down & dumped all the Legos into your overflowing bin ready to create whatever crazy design you thought of.  The point, we like the ability to customize & usually take advantage of it when offered or seek it out when not.  Technologies are allowing for new opportunities for customization and academia is not immune.  Parents & students are beginning to realize they can (and should) demand accessibility to resources, information, & learning.  Twenty-Four hour access to be able to learn anytime, anywhere, anything is available already.  We, as educators, have to be able to share & turn our classrooms into informational hubs or we will eventually be bypassed by those who cease seeing the need to use a middle man.  Seemingly harsh words, but looking ahead a reality that again we need not fear, but rather embrace!

After reading through these five disruptions I'll leave you again to ponder the quote from Brian Bailey @bcbailey64 . Perhaps reading it this time with a bit more of an idea of what is coming down the pike...embrace, don't fear!
"There definitely IS a tsunami coming (in fact, it's already here) - some educators will adapt successfully (because they have the right attitude to life-long learning and are flexible in their thinking) and some will resist to the bitter end (which means the point at which they become irrelevant to a changing education context). It's a smarter strategy to learn all you can about new technologies and then manage and control them to the benefit of your teaching and your students' learning, rather than to remain uninformed. It's more FUN too!"