Most kids put away their futuristic tools each morning and enter a time machine to go back to a past that is more and more unfamiliar and irrelevant to them. We call it school. They enter a classroom that looks much like the classrooms of yesteryear, to learn from teachers who are unfamiliar with the future tools or how they are used in the new digital landscape. Many parents of these same children avoid teaching them how to use the new tools out of fear, frustration and intimidation. Where will they go to prepare for their future? Who will lead them?
Wikis, blogs, Google docs, geo-tagging, social and mobile applications, are just a few of the tools that today’s kids use… outside the classroom. They find it odd that they’re told to look through old books for answers when Google has the latest information. They can’t talk with others in class about the answers to a test but as soon as they leave school they collaborate with a global team to solve more complex problems in a 3D immersive gaming environment.
Just do a Google search for “Layoffs in schools” to see that hundreds of thousands of teachers will lose their jobs this year and next. Sadly, many of the younger, tech-savvy teachers are first to go and many of the tenured teachers feel as is the digital divide has turned into a digital canyon that has them on the wrong side. These difficult times call for creative and radical solutions.
As Dorothy said, “We are not in Kansas anymore!” We have entered a new digital landscape that requires innovative thinking. We need to turn everything on its head to find creative solutions, such as reverse-mentoring, where students become the teacher, where teachers become coaches, applying tried wisdom to new problems. We need tools that blow the walls off of classrooms and take the students into environments that look more like the collaborative settings they enjoy when they leave school.
It’s time to ignite the desire for everyone to take action; to change what we know today as “school” and to become more innovative than ever before! We must seek new and creative ways to use more technology tools in our classrooms to prepare students for their future. We must all realize that he tools that built our past will not work to build our future. As learners, we must enter that time machine and go back to the future, where collaboration and teaming skills are critical.
If you had to start from scratch, what would you do different?
It’s about BIG learning! It’s about change. It’s about time!
There used to be a UFO club that had an office right in the strip mall near our house. It was the joke of the neighborhood. Who were these kooks that met in the small little office? Did you have to be a little crazy to even belong to this group?
We would tease the kids and warn them not to get too close as they looked in the windows, or they would be teleported to the mother ship. This UFO club was obviously never feared by locals, because after all, what could possibly happen in a strip mall? One day the office was just empty and had the FOR LEASE sign on the window again. Did they finally catch a ride back to their planet?
What if we could travel back 100 years and tell people living in 1910 that we have seen a man go to the moon, that we make video phone calls to people living on the other side of the world, and that every day we pay $4.50 for a cup of coffee that comes in a paper cup to our automobile window as we drive by? Surely they would call us kooks and even pull their children a bit closer warning them not to get near us!
Some of us feel the pain of the time traveler within our own organizations. When you have seen the future alive in other organizations, where they are using new tools and technologies to solve problems and connect people, you are sure that others will want to learn these new ways. But this is not always the case.
Organizations are very eager to talk about change and how they are focused on moving into the future but when you start trying to implement new tools and techniques, many times the old skeptics and critics come out of the rocks telling you why it’s safer to keep things as they were, at least for now. When trying to convince these curmudgeons, I suggest you start small.
Maybe for your next conference or all hands meeting you Skype in an expert from another company to share 3 top tips for your group. Get your sales and marketing team to shift just 15 minutes a day to connecting strategically on social media sites to begin building those networks. Use handheld video cameras to get your managers and executive team members to share 5 things they know now that they wish they knew when they first started and use that in new hire training. These are a few ideas to begin expanding the thinking of a crusty-thinking organization.
Don’t scare them by trying to do too many new things at once. Instead of trying to get your team to board the mother ship, perhaps you just invite them to meeting in strip mall–after all what could happen in a strip mall?
I had the pleasure of being interviewed on Tamara Kleinberg’s BlogTalkRadio show yesterday. We discussed the importance of maintaining that sense of adventure and exploration in order to keep the flames of innovation burning bright.
Here is the podcast from our 30-minute chat-let me know your thoughts!
There have always been explorers, from Magellan, Columbus, and Amelia Earhart to modern day adventurers like Robert Young Pelton, John Goddard and Jeff Corwin. And for every explorer there is a crowd of people shouting, “You are wasting your time! You are chasing a delusion! You are following a path to destruction…” (Okay, never mind, that was what my friends and colleagues have said to me!) Skeptics abound where explorers dare to dream, and the other crowd that gathers is the cowards. Those are the ones who say they will go AFTER the path is laid, After the path has been proven safe and AFTER there is a safe number of other cowards to walk with.
Exploring new business models or learning methods is no different. It takes an explorer to go first, to try new technologies, to dare to fail…or succeed! How many times have we heard, “Twitter is dead!” “No one will ever attend a serious business meeting or class in a virtual 3D environment!” “Facebook is on its way out and it is not a business tool!”? More times that we can count. The future depends upon those who will venture out into unchartered waters. Those who embrace the unknown or unproven to try something so radically different that others whisper as they walk by, “She’s the crazy one who has students using their cell phones in class!” “He’s the one who gives his product away for free and thinks he will make money…and what’s up with a name like Google?”
Last week I spoke at an event on a technology panel and a woman approached me after and said, “Isn’t all of this just hype? I mean Facebook is for teens to play games and talk about hating their parents. Businesses shouldn’t be wasting their time with these when there is real work to be done.” After I suggested anger management classes to her, I started to explain that we can no longer do business the way we used to do, and the new world of business requires new tools and then I stopped. I realized she would not be persuaded by such a lunatic as I. She would need to wait safely on that other side of the digital CANYON for the next covered wagon to come and get her. Ironically, that same day we read that Facebook reached an important milestone for the week ending March 13, 2010 and surpassed Google in the US to become the most visited website for the week. Yep, sounds like a waste of time for sure.
What waters must you cross to reach the new world in your business? Who is telling you it can’t be done? Who is saying they won’t follow you? Remember, the future is already here, but only the explorers are bold enough to enjoy it! There are oceans of opportunities waiting…are you an explorer, skeptic or coward?
Share your thoughts on exploring new worlds in your business or industry. Where is going? What are you doing to prepare?
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Technology brings about change. It always has; but the speed in which the change is occurring is staggering. Do you have time to wait? How can you embrace and use today’s technology for your business growth? How can you bring BIG LEARNING to yourself and your teams using some of these tools? Watch this short video and share your ideas! Let’s learn together…we don’t have time to wait!
When the video store down the street closed I was actually celebrating. My $18 late fees were erased forever. Our family was banned from most video stores years ago. Thanks to Netflix and on-demand video viewing, people just couldn’t see the value in stopping in and reading the backs of empty boxes only to find the good movies were all taken and the second choice videos came home and got lost in the couch cushions for 8 months.
Last month a large yellow dinosaur was dropped on my front porch which made me stand in wonder. Who is still using the yellow pages? Do we need them delivered for that occasional short guest that comes for dinner and needs a booster seat? Do we still feel that they make an attractive door stop? Who is not Googling everything? I hope those who work for the phone book companies have updated their resumes. What about the people who design resumes for those job seekers? Many of the resume companies didn’t anticipate LinkedIn lasting very long. Did the employees that made Poloroid cameras and film not see that picture of themselves in the unemployment office in their future? The digital readers, like Kindle and the Nook, are here to change the publishing and library industries forever. Some already wake to download their custom KINDLE PRESS Newspaper or open Flipboard to read their news instead of going out into the snow to fetch that old tattered newspaper.
Technology…progress… it does change things, but how can we be ready? How do we learn to read the trends and prepare for our future? I have been in the marketing and speaking business for over 20 years (which is a strange business in itself) but that is another industry being rocked by change and technology. Companies are incorporating more streaming video options for remote employees and Google Hangouts … well that is an amazing tool changing the marketing and content delivery landscape all over the place.
One of my favorite quotes is, “The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” I don’t know who said that, but they are so right. We are living in the future TODAY. How much of it we grab is determined by how in tune we are and how willing we are to embrace where the world is going. Here are a few tips to get you planning and taking a bigger piece of that future:
Let your mind imagine the future
What does your industry look like in your mind 5 or 10 years from now (Okay with lots of facial creams and futuristic vitamins you will still be there in the picture!) ? Can you imagine how technology has affected how you do business? How about how your product or service might have been changed?
What skills might be needed to be successful in this future? Even if you are not using them today, what might you need to brush up on? There are thousands of YouTube channels and thousands of podcasts delivered daily to help you stay on top of new trends, new ideas, new skills. Find 4 or 5 and subscribe to them. Now, more importantly, WATCH or LISTEN to them!
Regardless of your age or industry, take steps to make sure the KINDLE PRESS posts a blog entry about you celebrating your 100-years in business! You’d better start those vitamins now.