Monday, January 6

Embrace the future and expect the unexpected

They're Wrong: The Sun is Rising, Not Setting on America. Pretty captivating title, huh? Optimistic. Hopeful. Encouraging.

Vivek Wadhwa has some strong credentials: VP of Research and Innovation at Singularity University; Fellow, Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University; Director of Research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at the Pratt School of Engineering. There's more, but that gives you a sufficient idea of his background and why he has the chops to promote optimism about America's future.

What's coolest, though, is Singularity University. The mission is "to educate, inspire and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges."

A while ago I nominally participated in a MOOC course, The Future of Work. I did so because I'm really curious what others think might be the future of the work place. Part of my work has been to help educators better understand how to implement Common Core, and to do it well.

Part of my work is to help educators (and parents and anyone else who might listen) how to think differently about education because change is needed. If not Common Core, then something else. But the world is going to be, is already, different, and higher education and K-12 educators need to be looking ahead.

It's 2014 and we have to acknowledge how much technology has changed the way we live and work. Some for the good, some of the bad. It happens, but it doesn't have to just happen.

Wadwha writes:
Because the United States continues to lead the world in its ability to adapt to, incorporate and develop new systems and new technologies, we are uniquely poised to reap a disproportionate share of the benefits of these shifts. Even better, these advances will remedy the very weaknesses that have straightjacketed the U.S. economy and confined economic growth to the upper classes while causing income and life expectancy to stagnate for the lower 70 percent of the country’s population over the past three decades.
And he notes that "We have exponentially increased our ability to access knowledge. Search engines we take for granted deliver access to knowledge that would have been unimaginable two decades ago. Social networks have increased our ability to reach out to millions of people to request information and advice."

What are the implications and the ramifications? In what ways can educators and employers better use technology? What skills are required even more now than they were five years ago?

It seems to me that we have two choices. We can be part of the change, or we can let the change happen to us. I think educators could be perfectly poised to be a part of the change. I think today's employers, both small and large, could be sources of astonishing innovation, especially if they encourage the older, veteran employees who have seen the changes in the business work with the younger, newer employees who may have more experience with technology.

The world changes. The work place isn't what it was and will need to continue to evolve. Embrace the future and expect the unexpected.

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