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Paradigm Shift Ahead: Learning Just Got Heroic.

Did you know shift happens?

I started a Masters program this fall and have to tell you–it’s a blast. I’m learning so many cool things! Recently we were asked to revisit our “Philosophies of Education.” So I got to play around with this the other night.

I’ve mentioned stuff like this in passing before. But I’ve never formulated (and articulated) what I believe “education” is all about so emphatically.

We had some choices for presentation, and I went with a pamphlet type of thing that we could give to students or parents, which is pretty tough to recreate here, but I think you’ll get the gist.

I imagine I’ll continue to tweek it. I’ve already changed a couple of things even after turning it in last weekend. I’m just that way I guess.

Okay, enough chit-chat.

All the stats and images came from, Shift Happens, over at Slideshare.

Learning is Heroic

According to former Secretary of Education Richard Riley, the top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004.

Job training because shift happens

I believe that real, lasting and valuable teaching and learning is a creative process anchored to a framework of ideas about what is possible. We live in unique times. Technology is fueling an information explosion.  This has profound implications for teaching and learning. Consider, for example, these two statistical bits from one of my favorite presentations, “Shift Happens,” originally developed by Karl Fisch:

• The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that today’s learner will have 10-14 jobs by the age of 38.
• The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years. For students starting a four-year technical or college degree, this means that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study.

Technology training because shift happens

It’s statements like these that lead me to believe that teaching, learning, and curriculum should focus less on content, and more on the skills needed to communicate, as well as creatively and critically solve problems.

In order for this to happen, I think our entire educational landscape will have to undergo paradigm shifts that will change the very structure of what we do.  We must shake the very bedrock.

Big shifts like this mean risk. They mean venturing into unknown territory. They mean adventure.

10 years ago, who could have predicted Google? Who then could even foresee the problems that search engines would solve? Today, there are over 2.7 billion searches performed on Google each month. Information is expanding and change exponential. Tomorrow’s great thinkers and leaders are today’s risk takers and problem solvers.

They are our hero’s.

Problem solving in the 21st century

I believe we desperately need a new and heroic vision in education. One that can grow and adapt at today’s rate of change. One that leads in the exploration of new ideas. One that not only reads and writes and shares and analyzes information, but that also recognizes, values and nurtures a creative spirit–the spirit of the hero, unafraid of failure, able to take a hit and recover after setbacks, reassess the terrain, learn, adapt and continue on toward victory.

Students need skills that will allow them to solve problems that don’t exist  yet—true. But to do this, they will also need adventurous and creative attitudes to be able to adapt to the ever-changing landscape.

Learning has just become heroic. It’s a shift, I know. But . . .

Shift Happens.

Shift Happens Head

The Hero Path
“We have not even to risk the hero’s adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known.
We have only to follow the thread of the hero path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god.
And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves.
Where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.”

—Joseph Campbell


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