Posted by: crudbasher | August 13, 2012

A New 21st Century Competency

This is my Friday post, much delayed. Sorry about that.

So last week I posted several stories in a theme but was somewhat vague as to what the theme was. Well this is an extension of a thought I have been having for the last few months, which is the amplifying effect of the Internet on creative people. As I have been thinking about it more, I realized that this has actually been happening for a long time.

Check out this video to see where I am going with this.

A bone is probably the first tool humans every used. The purpose of a tool is to extend the capabilities of the human body and mind. That is the primary thing that separates us from the rest of the animals. Everything in society is a tool if you think about it. Schools are tools too. They are designed to teach things to large numbers of children, while freeing up the parents to work. It’s a time multiplier. Like many tools it’s purpose is to enhance productivity of people.

In the last week I wrote blog posts where I showed ways that technology is enhancing what people can do. There was a video of a little girl who used an exoskeleton to help her raise her arms. I wrote about the Curiosity Mars rover, which is an amazing tool to extend our reach all the way to Mars! Keep in mind, Curiosity only does what we tell it to do, it’s not autonomous. The military is using drones to multiply the effectiveness of combat troops. There was even a video of using a 3d printer to build a whole house in one day! These are truly spectacular ideas.

These things are becoming a reality but do we really teach children about them? Do we teach them about the new technological tools at our disposal and in development? There are certainly some programs that do this. I love the robotics teams at certain high schools. It’s practical learning and involves projects and creative problems solving. Even so, in how many schools do we ban students from bringing cell phones and computers? These are tools for extending the capability of the human mind and allow it to reach beyond the walls of the classroom. Use them!

So here’s my proposal for a new competency. Remote technologies. Showing competency in either gaining information from the outside world, or else in connecting up with a data source in the outside world. For example, give a test to the class on a topic they are completely unfamiliar with. They can use any resource they want and can even work in teams. Alternatively, have them find a webcam on the Internet to do research on a particular topic. The amount of video and remote viewing sources is going to explode in the next few years.

This sort of skill will be valuable in the next decade and I think we need to make sure our children are proficient in the application of remote technologies.

What do you think?

(cc) nivs



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