Thoughtful Thursdays: Learning in the Digital Era

Here’s a very thoughtful slide presentation about learning and what is changing in the digital era.

Discussions about learning are nothing new. But so much has changed — and continues to change at a very rapid pace — that our education system is being effected in a huge way.  Not only children are effected; think about how that applies to adults as well.

Communication, knowledge, and learning have experienced a few milestone transitions that led to major restructuring of society.  We’re in the midst of another one of those transitions right now.

Thousands of years ago when humans first developed writing and reading, many changes followed — not only in society but inside the human brain.

But the majority of the world’s population was still illiterate.  That began to change after the invention of the printing press made books, pamphlets, newspapers, and such readily available to most people, not just the wealthy with their private home libraries.

A new trend toward mandatory public schooling blossomed in the early 20th century to handle the demands of the Industrial Age for workers who could read, write, and do basic arithmetic.

Our current digital transitions are having many wide-spread effects.  I’ll mention two of them in relation to the slideshow above:

1.  As the Industrial Age has been replaced by the Information Economy and the Service Economy, schools will need to keep pace with the preparation they provide our young people.  More and more adults are moving into entrepreneurship as traditional, stable corporate jobs become more scarce.  The slides above raise questions about how schools can shift to meet the needs of the new economy.

2.  Easy creation and easy accessibility of visual content — in movie theatres, on television, and now on the internet — is beginning to reshape the human brain again.  And the flood of information at our fingertips has also brought new, self-directed ways to learn.  How can we help children and adults learn how to learn under those conditions?

I love this Clay Shirky quote in the slideshow:  “The change we’re in the middle of isn’t minor and it isn’t optional.”

I would love to hear your thoughts on these changes and any others you are thinking about.  Please share your comments below.

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