Our world has changed. If you do not realize this, time to step out of the bubble. If you do not like this, tough, get over it. The world gets smaller everyday. Not literally, the Earth is not shirking. But the way humans interact is changing, our world is shrinking. We no longer only interact with people around us. I can honestly say that some of my closest friends do not even live in the same state as me. Though I may only see these friends face to face one or two times a year, they know more about me and what is going on in my life than people I encounter everyday. We are learning (I hope) that one stupid post can, and some times does, get viewed and commented on by people around the world. I am sure in any westernized country you can say “honey badger” and someone in the room with giggle. We know internet memes spread fast, what is scary about this is not every meme starts out that way (think dad that shoots laptop).
This morning I was watching the Today Show and there was a perfect example of this. If you were on Twitter or Facebook yesterday you probably saw something about stopping Joseph Kony. (Not really going to go into the heart wrenching video right now, but take a moment to watch if you haven’t already.) The story was not on events taking place but how the awareness spread so quickly. At one point yesterday 1 million people were viewing the video per hour. Now this is a 30 minute video. Take a second to let that sink in. If you can, please take a moment and watch this news report.
The reporter starts by saying that the creator of this video, Jason Russell, hope to start a new generation of “Global Social Activists.” Think back to SOPA. It did not take long for people to spread and sign the petition. Social activism. Same this is happening here. But you see SOPA only was effecting the US, Kony is in (well according to some posts today he is not actually there) Uganda. That is where the “Global” part comes into play. See here is the deal, we are no longer in our safe beautiful bubble of the USA (or what ever country you are in – sorry about that my international friends). We saw images of the 2011 Japanese earthquake within minutes of it happening, and I can go on and on listing events during the past year that we would not know about if not for how the internet is being used today – to shrink our Earth.
At 2:25 in the news report a high school student, Amy Young, says this “It just goes to show how our generation kind of has a different perspective on the idea of a global community.” That quote is what really stuck with me. The generation in our schools right now are beginning to understand not only how to communicate in this global community but how to use it for good.
So what are we doing to help this generation live in this shrinking world? I’m in the middle of reading Seth Godin’s manifesto “Stop Stealing Dreams” and so far it is a lot about what is wrong with school, how it is out dated. No disagreements from me there. Our world has changed, so of course schools need to change with it. My last post discussed the need for creativity, but we cannot stop there. We cannot just teach history by just focusing on “this is what happened.” Maybe instead we need to ask, how would have this been different if it happened now? Teachers need to be not just prepared for the “21st century” but for the changing century. They need to be ready to constantly change as the world around them is changing. Think about it, “global social acitivist” would not have been something possible two years ago, if I am not mistaken, 2 years ago was 21st century. See how fast our world changes.
Educators need to understand the importance of changing with it. We need to allow students to see the benefits and power of living in this social world. Josh Allen’s school started a viral campaign to get Denzel Washington’s attention, perfect example of allowing students to be part of something larger than their community. I promise nothing is more exciting than to see a kid’s face when he/she gets a comment on a blog post from someone out of state or even another country. This again is that global interaction that is changing our world.
What are you doing to prepare your students to be part of this global word? What are you doing to prepare them for what ever the next shift in their generation will be? When that shift happens are you ready to change with it?