Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Class of 2133

Today's #AprilBlogADay topic led off with this Mennonite Axiom: We must raise the next generation 100 years before it's born. So what does that mean for us as educators?

My students this year were born in 2005-2006. As I look out at my kids working on wireless laptops working on their blog posts, I think back to my childhood in the 80's. Watching Inspector Gadget, I thought Penny's computer book was totally cool, but I remember thinking that it was unrealistic, totally implausible.

Of course, now in 2015, not only does it look feasible, it looks a little primitive. But when you consider that that's a prediction that's 32 years old, it seems pretty on the nose! Even so, when you look at predictions of the future from 100 years ago, they got some of it right, but so much was different than what we're doing today.

The cool thing, and the kinda scary thing, is that when you look at the whole of human history, a switch got flipped somewhere in the nineteenth century, and growth got seriously exponential! This is, of course, my long winded way of getting to the idea that we have so little idea of what 2133 will really look like. We don't know what technology or job prospects will be. Where we do make predictions, many of them will likely be laughable.

The thing then, is to turn to essential, broad, human skills. When I was a kid, school meant sitting in rows and learning to follow orders. Getting a job at a factory was also a viable career choice. It sure isn't now. We need leaders, communicators, and problem solvers. We need to drive our culture into a direction that works collaboratively for the greatest net benefit.

We need to be explorers. We must seek out connections, inspiration, and solutions to new problems. We need to be creators. Problems are opportunities - by finding interesting and intriguing solutions - we can lead in large ways and small. And lastly, we need to be collaborators. We have to work together, and put divisiveness behind us.

Or maybe not...maybe we'll just have to learn to bow down to our robot overlords. "We took it too far!" we'll think, as we feed the machine.

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