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CMB Educational Services, LLC
I teach teachers to prepare their students.
When the video “Shift Happens” (2007) was featured at a professional development day, I clearly remember one take-away:
“We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t exist using technologies that do not exist in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”
That video was created by Karl Fisch and modified by Scott McLeod. The video provided statistics on the rapid exponential growth in population and in information. Several slides called attention to the tsunami of information available to students noting that, “there is more information in a week’s worth of The New York Times than what an average person knew in the 1700s.”
However, I wondered if the “Shift Happens” video placed a misguided emphasis on adjusting skills and content in order to prepare students for unidentified problems?
I would suggest that every generation of educators has prepared students for an unknown future.
Educators cannot predict the future for their students, but educators can address trends. For example, in 1957, the American public began to reconsider how the role of public education may contribute to winning the Space Race with the Soviets once Sputnik had been released. The investments in education made as a consequence resulted in increased scientific advancements and many spin-off technologies. In contrast, however, predictions such as those at the 1964 NY World’s Fair of a future with flying cars, jet packs, vacation trips to Mars and beyond, underwater cities, and robot laborers have not yet came to fruition.
This is just one of the reasons that I believe all schools need teachers who are prepared to embrace change. They need to change to reflect this new world, this flatter world, this information-abundant, globally connected, rapidly changing, technology super-charged world, where students will need the same old traditional skills.
Fisch made no silly “predictions” like those at the NY World’s Fair, his video served to bring attention to trends that require an increase in the skills of communication and sharing information.
In order to communicate and to share, students from all grades must think, read well, write well, and speak well regardless as to what predictions are being made about new industries or technologies. In trying to anticipate the future, educators must not discount how the generations of students who learned important literacy skills became the graduates who are now responsible for evolving changes of the present.
In the years since the “Shift Happens” video, the role of educators is not to predict the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or company that will spawn new jobs or dominate an industry or the next “shift.” Instead, the role of educators must be to continue to teach those skills of thinking, reading, writing, and speaking well that contributed to the “shift” that is now happening for our students.
There is no surprise that “Shift Happens,” and the students who are prepared to think, to read well, to write well, and to speak well will not be surprised either.
That is why I prepare teachers to teach their students.