By John Mikton01/28/2015
Infographic used with permission from Reid Wilson at Wayfaring Path
I caught a tweet about Reid Wilson's post with this infographic and it simply jumped out at me. It got me thinking about my own learning--the idea of letting go, being open, okay to mess up, explore, tinker and celebrate being vulnerable and taking advantage of my failures as a learning opportunity. The habits of mind Reid shared resonated with me. The powerful infographic highlights how, in today's rapidly changing world, habits of mind are critical in engaging with these changes. Reid Wilson's infographic does a wonderful job of challenging educators’ thinking and pushes one to reconsider the pedagogic discourse of learning in schools.
The important premise is that these new habits of mind are about educators’ cognitive capacity to build new frameworks with a significantly different set of behaviors and beliefs, connected to a world that is in a constant state of accelerated change.
There are some concrete outside forces which come into play, challenging our learning communities. The shifts caused by these outside forces are significant and only highlight the importance of seriously engaging with Reid Wilson's premise shared in the infographic.
One of the biggest shifts is how the workplace, employment, and jobs are radically changing due to the adoption of new technologies and, more importantly, a break from traditional business models. Examples such as Air B and B, Uber, the apps market, and the rash of startups fueled by the E-economy are re-framing employment rules in the workplace. The dynamics of this shift are nicely broken down in The Economist article “Workers on Tap.” A whole generation of students in schools today is entering a new workplace being choreographed by these changes. The social contract of employment we have lived with is being turned upside down.
If tools can be emailed at a click of a button ("Nasa Emails Spanner to Space Station") and constructed in the confines of our homes with a 3D printer, how does this shift the dynamic of manufacturing and, in tandem, the role of design, location, innovation, and production. As this develops, we are seeing a re-framing of manufacturing, and it will not be about location but innovation, creativity, flexibility, and adaptability.
The growing field of machine intelligence and the complex dynamics of its ethical implications are starting to challenge our own moral constructs and the relationship between machines and humans. Shivon Zilis shares an interesting graphic on her blog The Current State of Machine Intelligence that delineates the companies and organizations involved in machine intelligence and the accelerated growth of areas unheard of a few years back. The growing investment tied to the development of machine intelligence coupled with the field of "learning machines" as described by Jeremy Howard's TEDtalk are ushering a science fiction-like future which actually is being constructed today!
These are just a few of the many new shifts changing our world, and being unpacked before our eyes. A term which encapsulates these forces well is VUCA, an acronym for "volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity" initially coined as a military term in the 1990s and now often shared in the context of companies and organizations engaging with a variety of leadership frameworks.
Schools and education leaders are in a unique position to engage, lead, and model Reid Wilson's construct of the 21st-century habits of mind in response to the forces of accelerated change. Education leaders must be risk takers themselves and engage with the responsibility to scaffold, curate, and facilitate this new construct that prepares not only our students for a world of "volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity" but also the educators that are in the control room of learning.
Special thank you to Reid Wilson for sharing the graphic. Do make a point of checking out his blog: http://www.wayfaringpath.com/