The World is Spiky 2
I do believe the world is becoming flatter for those of us who are connected and educated enough in how to exploit this connectivity for our development and the development of those around us. Unfortunately, that does not cover everyone. The digital divide is cited by David and others as the main stumbling block in the World Is Flat theory. I see the digital divide as more than simply access to kit:
- Understanding how to use the connectivity
Most of the kids I know have their own MySpace, MSNSpace or Bebo pages. They don’t have a clue what they’re doing on it, or that they can be googled with remarkable ease. Think of all those job interviews in the future: “So, Miss T., when you were 15 you got drunk with your mates and vandalised your school playground…?” Understanding how to use the connectivity once you’ve got it is far more difficult than plugging in the computer and internet. Cf. Digital Literacy, social literacy, constructivism.
Creativity is seen by many as the tipping point where youngsters in the West can strive ahead of their competitors in the East.
- But being creative is not possible for everyone
Hugh McLeod has pointed out in a cartoon which currently escapes me, "some people are too boring to blog" (his quote, not mine). Not everyone will have something to say. (If their using their blog as a learning blog, though, this hardly matters. The gain is in the process of the task). And as one of the TESOL tutors at Moray House pointed out, not everyone can podcast with as dulcet tones as, say, Mark. This is not the fault of people, though, this is the fault of the schooling system of the Western world. Sir Ken Robinson, last year at SETT, gave some startling figures to do with measuring creativity in terms of ‘genius’ from nursery through to end of formal education. Whereas 98% of our youngest children are classed at Genius level in creativity, by the time they have reached the end of formal education, around 16 years old, that level has fallen to 2%. What have we done?
- Being creative is not exclusively a Western attribute
Tara Hunt, Pinko Marketer and jolly nice gal whom I met at Les Blogs last year, has been spending some time recently in Bangalore where she and her incredibly talented programming man Chris discovered that these guys in India have better ideas for innovation than most of the tech camps they have been on in the USA. Look out! Creativity can be outsourced, too.
- Outsourcing is soon not going to be about lowly jobs
So if creativity could be outsourced then Friedman’s sigh of relief that the world is better off if the USA can rid itself of the grimy number-crunching jobs to Asia is misled. It won’t just be number-crunching that ends up offshore, but the creative juices of India and China (and, of course, South Korea) will creep up at a rate of knots and bite us all in the backside.
So what’s in store for our students? Attributes of what learners should be are widely documented and discussed. We’ve even got a national policy and framework for that, which I reckon hits the mark. But what roles will our young Scots (or Americans, or Canadians, or Slovenes) have in the future?