I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing but my ideas around what I wanted in transferring the success of my classroom learning to an online environment keeps changing. It keeps changing because new information keeps coming up about the changes happening in business; the New Economics and Wealth-creation, the effects of social media, the uses and abuses and new values of the Future.
This generation I’m teaching, those born after 1990 seem to be the culmination of the deliberate dumbing down of society. In an era where “the new illiterate are those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” (Alvin Toffler) we are faced with young people who are not only anti-intellectual, but are ignorant, about their level of literacy. This is probably a generation that has the combination of experiencing technology that simplifies everything in life, suffers from mass PTSD internalized and a very dangerous idea of entitlement.
This is a big time in experiments because no one has all the rules down to pat. We will soon see dramatic fallout in schooling which had existed for the purpose of indoctrinating people to conform to Industrial age management and economic theories. The writing is on the wall; If mass schooling existed to train people to conform to certain behaviors so as to be “human resources” for the Industrial Era (business) – what happens when the business models built on the Old Economy is collapsing like dominos every single day?
Education and Learning’s objectives is to prepare us for Life. I find myself living in a Paradox of Time and where work can be done 24/7/365, where non-money activities have a profound and sometimes catastrophic effect on the money economy. “Life” has been redefined. Life is no longer about going to school, work hard, get good grades, get a piece of degree and work for a big, stable company. Work is no longer about the denial of play nor revolves around an 8hr shift. Everyday I’m coming across more and more information which are – new core word for my vocab : counter-intuitive.
I know that eventually I have to choose a point where I will say, “OK, here’s our very own model of teaching communicative competence and creating a transcendental narrative the organic way. These are the best tools we can afford and here’s our structure. ”
It is not a matter of “If” but a matter of “When” in the fallout of the Prussian education model – like what I read in the Black Swan, it will happen precisely because society and schooling (and the ESL training and publishing industry)did not expect it to happen. What happens when kids who are 7 to 20 today find themselves in a market 5-10 years from now which not only renders their learning obsolete but requires of them the high-touch, high-concept skills (Daniel H. Pink, A Whole New World) and the 5 Minds for the Future (Howard Gardner) which unfortunately, the rituals of Industrial Schooling has disabled in their childhood?
Soon, the rest of the world will start to realize that the role of acquiring a Universal Language is not for social status and “work opportunities” but to search for a Universal Narrative as one global village. In the meantime, I’m still trying to figure out how to deliver learning in an authentic, organic manner to an audience who is largely anti-intellectual and with tools and delivery methods which become redundant every 6 months. I don’t know how to engage them in a conversation when all their energy is focused on trying to get past the rituals of schooling and escaping into the social virtual and visual worlds of Facebook and Youtube and animation and gaming.
Seth Godin in today’s blog says, “Sell the way you buy”. That’s a little hard when I buy deep-learning while my audience buys minimum effort maximum entertainment. Perhaps I am obsolete. Perhaps this new world doesn’t need deep learning and a transcendental narrative to living. Perhaps we are, The Last of the Mohicans.