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Here are some ideas about paradigm shifts from Living on the Future Edge by Ian Jukes, Ted McCain, and Lee Crockett. Technology advances have reached a point to where the changes we are seeing in society are exponential – they are coming so quickly that they are hard to grasp. To compound the problem, the time between the shifts continues to decrease, which gives us even less time to adjust before another new paradigm is upon us.
So what do we do as educators?
• We must realize that we are always in the middle of a paradigm, and seeing things from another perspective is sometimes difficult.
• We must accept the fact that we must shift. Our students are shifting, and we must shift with them.
• The biggest question is HOW we will respond. We desire comfort, but changes often require more work and a new way of looking at the world.
• The layout of most schools, especially high schools, was created before the Great Depression. The paradigm of 20th Century schools was great for the Industrial Age, a time of mass production and standardization – but we are now in the Information Age.
• Using an Industrial Age paradigm in the Information Age will not work.
• We must avoid paradigm paralysis, a state in which we refuse to acknowledge in our schools the shifts occurring around us in society.
• We must adapt and have paradigm pliability, which is the ability to recognize limitations of existing paradigms and to be able to make adjustments or abandon the old paradigm.
• Our view of our paradigm is often driven by our life experiences, personality, or personal goals.
• Most adults are experiencing a sort of paradigm pressure, in which a new paradigm is shifting up against an existing, comfortable one.
• To get an accurate picture of the future, we must understand that technology develops exponentially over time. These exponential shifts began decades ago, but only recently has the accelerating pattern become more obvious to us.
• The only way to cope with modern life is to look at the world from a completely new perspective. If we don’t think ahead, then we won’t know what hit us.
• We cannot be successful by dealing only with the present; we must split our attention between the present and the future.
• The future will be astounding. Effective educators must extrapolate current trends out to the future to see what students will need to operate in the world of tomorrow.
We must view these challenges as opportunities and look at where the world is going, not where it is today.