Want a reality check? Take a look at what is happening with the Arab Spring this past year, or the insane pace of the explosion of support for Occupy Wall Street. Or, how about the rise and fall of Politicians, sporting athletes, or any particular musicians fleeting popularity. What we are currently in the midst of is the biggest shift in international society since the 1850s. We are rapidly, month by month, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, moving away from an industrialized society to an information society.
The way in which news, video, images enter our brain, is literally, changing the way our brains function. There was a recent study by the American Medical Association that suggested that within a decade (10 years!), that the way in which our brain learns will dramatically shift. And, ladies and gentlemen, there is no stopping this train from steam rolling down the tracks. The information age is changing and transforming everything, from the way we think, to what we eat, to how we interact and who we become as individuals, communities and as part of the human race.
This change from an industrial society to an information one is highly predicated on technology (computers, cell phones, electric cars, the green movement), but it is not simply implanting technology that will be necessary, but carefully understanding the power of this lightening-speed development of information. We can do one of two things as teachers, educators, empowering individuals; one, we can simply put computers into every classroom, use PowerPoint as our blackboard and use twitter handles and cell phone calls to teach English and Language… or, we can understand that the information age is not just tools but rather a new process of what learners know and how to engage those learners more effectively.
It is quickly becoming clear that the majority of the educational sector in society is preferring option 1, which they hope will simply propel schooling, students, teachers, administrators, and education itself into the wave of the future. And, the truth is, that technology itself, will be a push, but do we want that push to be uncoordinated and without direction? It might be fun to watch, but its disastrous results may leave learners even further behind. Neither do we want to labor the idea of technology, putting up every barrier that comes with technology, for this will just have us continually dragging our feet through the industrial muddied sludge for that much longer.
Educators must unite, in understanding that technology is a tool that needs to be used effectively, in compliment and mostly, as under the umbrella of a larger narrative and conversation revolving around the informational age. The train is barreling down its tracks, it is up to the educators to become highly aware, enlightened and full of clarity on what exactly that train is.. not simply a fancy new IPAD or a shiny G4 phone…but rather it is a new way in which our society is changing, a new way in which we take in information, and most importantly, a new realm in the way we are learning.
Education is already chasing after that train, as the rest of society has jumped on board…only a few cars left for the system to jump onto, embracing that shift in the paradigm…or the system might just be left holding a whole lot of out-of-date technology, wondering how they never saw it coming.