Educating an Expediential Planet?

The rate of change is so incredible; it is hard to believe that China is becoming the world’s number one English speaking country. Mind blowing is the fact that for technical students starting a four year degree, half of what they lean will be out of date before their third year of study is completed. What about jobs? Did you know that the top 10 jobs in demand now did not exist in 2004?

I was prompted to search out this information and the video below after getting some feedback about Ralph Eastman’s question “Is reading replacing TV as a pastime” as he eluded to increasing internet readerships trends. I also noted a comment from subscribers. My research of course is so easy now isn’t it, with the internet which is now my constant tool of trade? And here are some of the facts I found in my digging. There are also some interesting tit bits to ponder.

There are 31 Billion searches on Google each month. In 2006 this was 2.7 billion. The question this poses is to whom were these questions asked of before Google.


The information explosion is now taken for granted. So you are right Ralph, people are using this medium to learn and get information. What is also interesting is estimated that a modern newspaper contains more information than an 18th century person would ever come across in their whole life. And now of course newspapers are published widely on the internet and read by so many more. I for one, read up to 10 newspapers a day from various countries, plus I take a feed from Google news. This would not be possible without the internet.

But on the penetration side, what is incredible are the changes as we speak. Again quoting my research source the internet, it is said that to achieve 50 million market audience penetration took radio 38 years, TV 13 years, the internet 4 years and IPod 3 years. imageAnd Mark Zuckerberg as a Harvard student capped them all when he launched  Facebook from his dorm on February 4, 2004. This online social website took just 2 years to exceed the 50 million penetration level. And it now boasts over 100,000 daily active users.

image And now, Twitter, a San Francisco 2006, start up of less than 30 people, just started a micro blogging tool that looks like it will cream them all to reach 50 million penetrations by the end of  2009.

My personal Twitter account, which I signed up to just see what it was about , less than 4 weeks ago, has accelerating followers joining my site at about 100 a week and faster than I can keep up with replies to inquires. Our blog readership also went through the roof as this spawned new interest on 4 continents. Interesting…I guess it seems we may have some of it right.

And people like a 4 year old startup called “Zappos”,  now have a following of over 250,000 people all watching them on Twitter as they are seriously penetrating parts of the giant textiles and apparel distribution market in the US with quality service differentiated  by use of high tech supply chain, internet based technology, and market penetration via social media. I plan to say more on that in future blogs, but for now, like many, we are all watching, leaning and assessing the opportunities.

So with an estimated 1,000,000,000 internet devices on the planet at the end of last year, I have no doubt that times head will be nothing like the world we know of today and much less yesterday. The bandwidths a non issue  with 14 billion bit per second going down a single optic fiber is now possible. Predications are that by 2013 a computer will exceed the computational power of the human brain and by 2049 it will exceed the total computational value of the entire human species.

I could try to say something profound here that would be valueless to anyone who is in the leading edge of change. Suffice to say, the future is as uncertain as it was in the last century when those of us that saw the revolutions thought we had seen all the marvels mankind could create.

The truth is the opportunities are boundless and I just wish I could have my time over again. But education and changing peoples ability to cope with change is a critical issue. In my case, maybe the essence of change will allow me to have my wish anyway, as the speed of change itself will bear no comparison to what previously would have taken several lifetimes to occur in what I could reasonably expect I  have left in mine.

My source for all this information is of course the internet and specifically for much of it a video I have linked here. This  PowerPoint presentation set to some foot tapping music (turn your sound down if you are in the office)  is entitled “Shift Happens by ” Karl Fisch, a so called high school administrator at Arapahoe High School in Littleton, Colorado, who “pulled together some interesting ideas” for teachers at his school. (Later, Scott Mcleod, a professor at University. of Minnesota, generalized the presentation.)

The following adaptation of the original “Shift Happens” presentation was created by Sony BMG Music Entertainment. The video, presented by Richard Sanders, President of Sony BMG International, was shown on 4 May 2008 to 150 of the company’s top executives gathered in Rome for Sony BMG’s annual Global Management Meeting. As part of Sony BMG’s mission to improve the music experience for consumers living in “exponential times”, the video illustrates the demand for change.

It is well worth watching if you have not seen it already. Interesting too, is that in the time I was writing this post the YouTube views alone on this valuable piece of research had exceeded 1.3 million.

Our thirst for knowledge and to be connected it seems  are the biggest selling commodities today. So  “Keep on Plugging” as Sam Donley suggests.

Shift Happens video author Karl Fisch, says “No words of wisdom are here.  I just thought you might find it interesting.”

Why don’t spend 5 minutes and check it out?

If  you are interested in joining this conversation here is the link to a wiki called shift happens. Its aim is to get everyone involved in the conversation to come up with a system of education for our children that prepares them for the 21st century.

2 thoughts on “Educating an Expediential Planet?

  1. @Tony O’Neill

    What a great comment.

    I just wonder if the other reality is behaviour. Yes social networking it seems is providing adaptive awareness and interactice ability to analyse and decide. Of course it is also influencing at all levels by default.

    I also absolutely agree, education must focus on teaching people to distinguish and understand substance.

    Being able to recognize and focus on what have and how to use what we already have is so important. Leaning about ancient Chinese or European methods and cultural ways of doing things is no less relevant than learning about how to build a machine or do a job that is obsolete before the course is over.

    To me it seems educators must continue to focus on education for context with practical outcomes that provide skills to be able to recognize the fundamentals. Then we can be adaptive and innovative as change occurs. The key may be to understand a way of thinking.

    With no intent to be profound, it seems it is often forgetten that, if we understand the fundamentals and how people behave with them, then nothing really changes as everything just becomes different.

    Thanks for bringing that out.


  2. Fact is, news and social networking aren’t real substance/knowledge. Yet, eduction teaches them how to analyze and decide properly.

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