The World IS Flat
October 10, 2011
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For Emerging Instructional Technologies, we were tasked with watching Thomas Friedman’s lecture The World Is Flat. In his lecture, Friedman explains his experience with visiting India, where he was told “The economic playing field is being leveled”, which he saw as the world becoming “flat”, the barriers to becoming an economic powerhouse are being flattened, via outsourcing and technology. As Friedman puts it, this happened “while you were sleeping”, and “America is not prepared”.
Now what does this have to do with education? When was the last time you used technology to interact with another classroom? Now how about the last time you used technology to interact outside of the classroom? I would bet money that as soon as you left your last class for the day, you checked your phone, or if you have a smartphone, you checked your emails. It is that easy to interact and communicate with others, from all over the world, but we aren’t teaching this. Classes might use Skype to meet face to face with other classrooms across the world, but I have yet to see one. Cellphones, texting, etc, are banned in most schools. These are becoming a “flattener” in themselves as I see it, so why are we completely discouraging their use? We should be teaching these flatteners, and use these forces in our instruction. Our students will be using them the rest of their lives, no matter the career they choose to pursue. Students are not being taught practical uses for things that didn’t exist when we were their age. Think about how many people thought the iPad was a passing fad. Look what happened with that. Apple offers educators a plethora of sources to use this technology in the classroom, and even mobile seminars to help teachers. I think that we can’t count out any technology as a “fad” anymore, but as an ever evolving flattener that is leading the way in reshaping our world.
So, America. We need to prepare ourselves for the next era of globalization, and we need to start now.