Monday, October 10, 2005

Connecting to the Future

If the US hopes to retain a vibrant and viable economy and maintain its edge as a world leader in medicine, science, engineering and the like, this country’s educational and political leaders will need to envision new types of schools where all students have full-time access to all levels and types of information. Schools need to become more like the modern and post modern workplace, where information is shared and created among peers, not restricted and funneled and poured top down a curriculum unit at a time and a grade or class level at a time.

That was the message of Alan November, featured speaker today at IPFW’s 30th anniversary of its Division of Continuing Studies. Titled “Creating new Cultures for 21st Century learning,” the workshop lead off with a 90 minute presentation by November, who painted both an exciting view of the future as well as a bleak picture of what could be in store for today’s young people if they don’t take seriously what fellow speaker Ft. Wayne Mayor Graham Richards termed as the need to be a “lifelong, lean, learning machine.”

As more and more US jobs get outsourced to countries where wages and benefits are not so costly, Graham noted that the “connection between learning and earning has never been more important.”

Towards that end, November called for the restructuring of schools, connecting students, their teachers and their families to 24 by 7 information through the Internet, by building a web of instant information flow that connects students and their families directly with the learning process. Without going into more detail about his presentation, which can be seen at the DCS blog, I just want to point to one of the more upbeat portions of his dynamic talk. A great society is not just one that is educated, it is also one that is connected; it is a society in which citizens work together to build and share knowledge – with this type of cooperative learning and looking towards the future, this country can ensure and improve its status as a world economic and socially just leader.

This blog is a small part of that process.


At 8:18 AM, Blogger ider_woman said...

I wonder what the post post-modern workplace looks like? The photo of the San Diego high school looks like today's workplace (which may itself be post post-modern...I wish I knew what philosophical age we were in. I know that post-modernity has ended, but when, and where are we now, the Age of Aquarius?)

Is the post post-modern workplace really a place? Is it a workplayce?

By the way, I think that the SD set up requires -more- teachers, not fewer, as one conference attendee remarked fearfully (must have been a HS teacher). Innovative solutions make our teacher shortage seem very acute indeed.


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