I have just read an excellent blog post by Alec Couros called “It’s Not Going Away”. In the post Alec talks about the fact that we have entered a completely changed world, what I like to call “The Digital Age”.
As an educator he has met many teachers who have their fears of this “brave new world” and talk about the cyberbullying, the obsession with online games and the fear that they have of somehow losing control if the machines were allowed to hold sway.
Alec uses the phrase that I have made the title of my post, that the world we live in now has changed to a point where the world that many of us grew up in has disappeared. He states that educators need to “embrace the discomfort” that they feel and realise that there is also great potential in the new world we have arrived in.
I loved his list of examples of how our world has changed and I am taking advantage of his embracing of “open source” information to shamelessly use a part of his post here. Thus, to quote him, this is the world we have now moved into in our “digital age”:
- a world where volunteers openly write, edit, and rewrite the largest collection of knowledge artefacts that humankind has ever seen.
- a world where powerful tools exist that redefine our ability to solve problems and help us to visualize what we know in ways that were once not easily possible.
- a world where 72 hours of video is uploaded every minute (and that’s just toYoutube).
- a world where anyone with an Internet connection can learn along with millions of others through connected learning opportunities.
- a world where a 9-year-old blogger can have a greater voice and more external impact than her entire school district.
- a world where institutional & personal reputation is becoming increasingly important, but more so, where qualifiers of reputation are tracked and recorded through your interactions with others.
- a world where views on privacy have changed and where teens are struggling to redefine their social spaces while corporate giants are building their business models on a less private future.
- a world where racist message meant for a few can quickly end up being seen, remixed, and repurposed and viewed by millions, but where those same communication dynamics can allow a young scientist to creatively share her passions.
- a world where bullying incidents can quickly go viral, but where forces of human kindness can help the victims, raise awareness, and foster networks of support.
- a world where the world’s most popular song (the one your kids are singing, dancing to, and remixing) is written entirely in Korean.
- a world where video screencasts from an untrained educator are viewed by millions of learners, attract millions of dollars in funding, provoke thousands of educators to ‘flip their classrooms‘, and cause educators to critique and discuss the importance of pedagogy. And,
- a world where governments, corporations and educational institutions try to control all of these forces but most often, realize that their attempts are futile.
This world is an exciting place to me and one which has released so much that I can use, explore and interact with. For the youth of our world there is no turning back. We cannot create the world that we grew up in with closed systems of knowledge and accessibility to the few and privileged.
Educators must embrace the new realities and those who have have actually found that it has liberated them and made their teaching (and most importantly their learning) much deeper and in many cases changed their lives.
We are better for embracing the discomfort and working through it. We cannot hide behind our classroom desks forever!
- “It’s Not Going Away” (educationaltechnology.ca)
- Open & Connected Learning (slideshare.net)
- Developing Digital Citizens (slideshare.net)
- Breaking the mold – Who’s teaching the Teachers? (rachaelbath.wordpress.com)