Many of us have seen the McLeod/Fisch “Shift Happens” video.
Some of the ideas from this video that really grab me are:
1. We’re preparing kids for jobs that don’t exist today.
This is hugely powerful and really important to us at THINK Global School. We always say “Don’t teach me what to think – teach me how to think.” This is the most important thing that schools should be doing today but the reality is that it’s the area in which they fall the most short. It’s all about critical thinking and we’re building a world-class curriculum at TGS around this idea.
2. One in eight couples married last year met online.
This one kind of blows me away on a variety of levels. I could probably go on about this fact (which I verified as it’s so wacky) and even make some snippy comment like “The Apocalypse is surely upon us,” but I won’t. Let’s suffice it to say that today we are living in a truly and profoundly digital world of the future. Geez – I feel like a Jetson when I read this.
3. The number of Google searches per month has gone from under 3 billion in 2006 to 31 billion today.
That’s per month. What are we searching? I just looked at my own search history for the past few days, and I’ve come across such inane queries as “protein content baba ghanoush,” “NBA store New York,” “Can you shave a Labrador Retriever in the summer,” and “Will Space Food Sticks make a comeback?” I am quite certain that much of what we search on Google can and maybe should go unsearched. That being said, we’ll continue to search more and more and more information.
4. The number of SMS messages sent and received every day exceeds the total population of the planet.
Parenthetically, the number of SMS messages I’ve sent and received while writing these two sentences exceeds the number of sentences five-fold.
5. 4 exabytes of unique information will be generated this year. That’s more than the previous 5,000 years.
Okay – some of this information is, admittedly, useless. It’s some dude posting a YouTube video of squirrels dancing hula (no, that wasn’t me). But, still, that’s massive and kind of really intensely scary. When I read that, I actually thought about a teaching experience I had in the mid-1990s. We made our kids memorize the first 18 lines of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. In Middle English. I told my colleagues that this was a truly profound, Draconian waste of time. I lost that battle again and again and now we have graduates of this top boarding school and later the Ivy League who possess a unique ability to use “whan that April with its shoores soote” as a pickup line in many a New York City bar. Nice.
6. The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years. For students starting a 4-year technical or college degree, this means that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study.
This is amazing and speaks to my first point of this blog – that young adults will need to be really evolved critical thinkers by the time they arrive at university. If they’re not (and they’re overwhelmingly not today, even less so in places such as China) they won’t be able to filter, absorb and internalize these changes. This is really a crazy statistic – imagine taking a first degree in Maths and halfway through, the theorem you learn and apply just aren’t valid anymore. Whoops! Really, a curriculum geared towards thinking on one’s feet is going to be huge in the future and that’s what we’ll be teaching and learning at TGS.