Recently I had the opportunity to watch some of the Did You Know? videos. The original was called Shift Happens, and it along with the Did You Know? updates share statistics about our rapidly changing culture and the effects of technology upon our culture. Some of it is very interesting. For instance, it took radio 38 years to reach a target audience of 50 million. Television reached that same size audience in only 13 years. The internet reached 50 million people in only 4 years, the iPod did it in 3 years and Facebook...only 2 years.
We currently have 540,000 words in the English language. That's 5x as many as during Shakespeare's lifetime.
The amount of new technological information is doubling every two years. That means for a student going to school to get a 4 year degree in a technological field, the information you were learning would be outdated by the 3rd year of study.
While all of this is very interesting and certainly has relevance to how and what we teach students in this day and age, I think it's important to remember that while technology is changing at record breakneck speeds, some things don't really change at all.
I find myself thinking that there are some "most important things" that I need to teach my kids that will be relevant no matter how our society changes. It is my responsibility to purposefully and diligently teach my children my values and core beliefs, and to teach my children self-discipline. If I fail to teach my kids, they'll still learn values, but they won't be mine. They'll learn from the culture.
From an educational standpoint, I believe it's crucial to teach kids to be independent, creative thinkers and problem solvers. They need age appropriate practice solving problems and making decisions, and yes, using higher level thinking skills. It is true that we are preparing kids to work in jobs that have yet to be created and they will be functioning and communicating in a different type of world. But knowing that, it becomes even more important to prepare them for their futures as family leaders...mothers and fathers. When the family falls apart, then the whole fabric of our culture will follow and it won't matter how much technology we have.
Click on the links and watch the videos. Let me know what you think.