I was presenting at the Pearson CITE conference in Fort Worth Texas last week. The opening keynote speaker was the very funny Sir Ken Robinson. One of the things he said was:
“We have to do things differently, We have to move on from some of the practices we have come very comfortable with.”
It is when we are uncomfortable that we are learning. The other keynote speaker Ian Jukes had us clasp our hands together to see if our right or left thumb was on top. Then he said to do it again but with the other thumb on top. He pointed out that it feels uncomfortable and we have this urge to switch it back. Doing things differently is uncomfortable.
The world is changing and it is uncomfortable for a lot of people. We can not put the technology toothpaste back in the tube. The innovations that have been coming out fast and furious are changing what is possible. This is causing another shift in the types of jobs people are going to be having in the future. It use to be that the majority of Americans were employed in agriculture (70% in 1870). It is now less than 2% of the population that is working in agriculture. This changed the culture dramatically. We are now in shifting away from these jobs to more creative jobs.
Technology gives me instant access to information. Looking at my tablet there is a specialized calculator for just about any math function out there. Not only will it calculate the values for me in a fraction of a second but in some cases it will also show all of the steps. I could tell students to put away their devices and put my head in the sand and pretend this technology does not exist. However, the reality is that this not going away. Very soon everyone will have some sort of mobile device and the technology we currently have is only going to get better.
So now that almost anything you teach is on YouTube, that Siri or Google Now can give you all the information you need to know at the point you are wondering, what are you going to do differently?