A few months back I bought a book entitled World Changing: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century. I managed to get it for the bargain price of £3 from a discount bookshop. I even haggled for money off as the cardboard sleeve had a small tear in it. What can I say? I’m a skinflint…
But I’m drifting off my point. I began reading the Editor’s introduction this morning, which includes the paragraph:
Because the planet seems so large to each of us as individuals, it’s easy to forget how many of us there are (over six billion and counting) and how much stress we collectively put on the earth. Though it’s not always east to see it as we go about our days, our current way of life is unsustainable, and that which is not sustainable does not continue. We are using up the planet, one person, one day, one decision at a time; we’re not considering the consequences.
We work from home. We make videos, we put them on the Web, people watch them. We track our views, our Technorati links, our mentions in Twitter, our blog comments. A good percentage of people we see in social situations in Seattle are aware of our work. Most of the email we receive is about the videos and of course, it dominates our discussions at home. This is all misleading and a bit unhealthy.
It’s too easy to start making assumptions – assumptions about general awareness, about the number of people who really know what’s happening in “our” online world. Viewed from the comfort of our living room, bookmarked pages and social circles, the Web looks pretty small and awareness looks pretty big. It’s too easy to assume that people have heard about the tools and sites we use everyday.
But they haven’t. In real terms, no one has. I look at Las Vegas as a cross section of the US. At any moment there are people from every state and many countries. They are the General Public in a lot of ways. I sat back and asked myself – forgetting Common Craft – do these people know about Twitter? Has Flickr become part of their world? What about wikis, do they care? Are they using RSS readers? My completely anecdotal evidence says the answer is no. In our own little online world, it’s too easy to assume they do.
Richard Platts shared the above with this note:
It’s easy to assume a change is happening in the world of education because we see more and more people joining the edublogosphere. But in terms of the number of educators the world over, it’s just a drop in the ocean.
What are we doing to get the message out about the way young people should be taught in the 21st century? Are we just preaching to the choir?
I hope not. Next year, I’ll be E-Learning Staff Tutor at my school. In practice, that means half a timetable of teaching, and the rest of the time working with members of staff, encouraging them to use educational technology, team-teaching, researching and developing, and so on. One of the first things I’m going to show them all together is the following:
What are YOU planning to do next academic year to get the message out?