Home > capstone, education, technology > My world, flattened

My world, flattened

I love ITunes University.  It’s a great resource and I often just explore to see what’s new and interesting.  Recently I decided to download Thomas Friedman’s presentation of “The World is Flat 3.0.”  Intrigued, I came away thinking about his philosophy and my work as a teacher, but  it wasn’t until this week’s reading that I realized how influential Friedman’s work has been. What made me reach this conclusion?  Viewing UNESCO’s three “overlapping approaches that connect education policy with economic development” (UNESCO standards p. 8), specifically the call for students to use knowledge to solve multi-layered, “real-world” problems and to use innovation to produce new knowledge.

In a very tiny nutshell for those of you unfamiliar with Friedman’s work, the basic premise behind the statement “The World is Flat’ is that with the rapid advance in technology and connectivity, our world has undergone a startling transformation.  Now, anything that can be conceived of, can be realized, and economic competition and transformation has moved out of the sphere of  country/industry, into the domain of the individual.  The ones who will be successful in the future are those who can apply knowledge in creative new ways as a means for solving problems and those who can imagine new approaches to processes, thereby creating “new knowledge.”

What does this have to do with teaching?  Everything.  The students I teach are facing a world where they are only limited by their imagination and their ability to function in the digital world.  That changes my role as a teacher.  If I am not providing my students opportunities to imagine differently, then I am not training them for the future.  By the same token, if I am not training them how to be adaptable in a digital world, how to use technology as a tool and a resource, then I am also not preparing them for the future.  I think the fact that the United Nations is setting standards for technology is a real indicator that we can’t just sit around discussing what schools will be doing in the future,  the change is happening now, in the present, and we better have a plan, or the future will belong to those that do.

Categories: capstone, education, technology
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