Another dot in the blogosphere?


Posted on: December 31, 2018

I have worked with several agencies as an education and technology consultant. I rarely find one that is synchronised with its words and with the times.

Nostalgia is like grammar. It makes the past perfect and the present tense.

The agencies often tout “future-ready” students who have “21st century competencies” like “collaboration”. I am going to repeat what I have said before:

  • Readiness is a state of being, and since you cannot perfectly predict the future, you cannot ensure future-readiness. At best, you can do you try to prepare. Preparation is a state of mind.
  • Just what competencies are uniquely 21st century? Why use a catch-all phrase instead of being specific?
  • How is collaboration 21st century? Did people not need to also collaborate in centuries prior? Furthermore, what you often refer to as collaboration is actually just cooperation. Look it up.

More important than the words are the actions.

There are very basic actions that one can take to be more progressive or future-oriented. Take editing documents for example. I am used to efficient, secure, and effective document sharing and co-authoring with Google Docs. Yet there are times when I am forced to revert to old school exchanges of documents.

Take payments as another example. In just the last four years of operating as a consultant, most of my pay has been facilitated online through secure government portals. Yet I have encountered entities that operate by cheque and cash. In one case of cash, I was given foreign currency, and after exchanging it when I got home, earned much less.

I am tempted to say that such agencies are not in sync with the times. As the rest of the first world barrels forward, these holdouts cling to old and unnecessary ways. They refuse to learn and to do better, recreate old ways of doing things, and remain in sync with the past.

As a result of such actions, they teach and model behaviours that are contrary to their words. Instead of “future-ready”, they are past-perfect. Instead of being “21st century”, they reside in the 19th. Instead of collaborating or even cooperating, they are obstructing or retarding.

So while most folks wax lyrical on the last day of the year, I use a few image quotations I updated recently to remind myself why change is the only constant.

Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.

Tomorrow's educational progress cannot be determined by yesterday's successful performance.

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.


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