The future is based on impromptu innovation, inspiration and connections – that’s a paraphrase from Seth Godin’s blog today and I urge you to read it: The forever recession (and the coming revolution).
And then switch out the workers, factories and the economy and replace with children, schools and education. Any alarming parallels?
Godin argues that the industrial age, factory era of good jobs anchored to specific geography and replaceable work is gone forever and on a global scale this is what we have instead:
There’s a race to the bottom, one where communities fight to suspend labor and environmental rules in order to become the world’s cheapest supplier. The problem with the race to the bottom is that you might win…
When everyone has a laptop and connection to the world, then everyone owns a factory. Instead of coming together physically, we have the ability to come together virtually, to earn attention, to connect labor and resources, to deliver value.
No one is trained in how to do this, in how to initiate, to visualize, to solve interesting problems and then deliver.
Some see the new work as a hodgepodge of little projects, a pale imitation of a ‘real’ job. Others realize that this is a platform for a kind of art, a far more level playing field in which owning a factory isn’t a birthright for a tiny minority but something that hundreds of millions of people have the chance to do.
For some this will mean a life of lowered expectations and service. But for Godin the bright flipside is a kind of freewheeling freedom and opportunity available to those who can grasp it and make it work.
In one direction is lowered expectations and plenty of burger flipping. In the other is a race to the top, in which individuals who are awaiting instructions begin to give them instead.
… feels a lot more like marketing–it’s impromptu, it’s based on innovation and inspiration, and it involves connections between and among people–and a lot less like factory work, in which you do what you did yesterday, but faster and cheaper.
And then Godin goes right to heart of the secondary problem: With these changed expectations we also need to change our training and approaches to what works. If what we imagine to be the status quo is actually gone forever then we have to stop fighting for the past and engage with the future.
Job creation is a false idol. The future is about gigs and assets and art and an ever-shifting series of partnerships and projects.
Ok – so – back to that opening question. If you think anything of what Godin has to say (and please read the whole thing) what are the implication for schools – the curriculum, the approaches to learning – and the work of the children and adults inside them?
Education is not about preparing children to enter a workforce. But take a good look at schools and classrooms and programs and ask – what is this designed to do? What is the thinking here? Does what is happening in any way connect with a sense of how the world is in shift and what children need to thrive in the here-and-now.
And to help us with direction here is a collage of the compasses created in yesterday’s all-school activity. There’s one missing and I have to track it down. For more pictures of groups at work click here.