Monday, May 18, 2009

Changes in the world

The world is certainly a different place than in the time when I was growing up here in small-town New Zealand. We now live in a time when technological developments have enabled all peoples, regardless of where they live, what ethnic race they align with and what educational background they have to be able to access the same information as each other. Communications across countries, regions and cultures are possible and advantageous. My clothes are now manufactured in another region of the globe, my food can come from the farmer’s market down the road or the other side of the world—the choice is mine. My car is from Europe and the man on the end of the help-desk is probably situated in New Delhi.

Once again how much this has all changed! It seems a mile from my simple up-bringing when fruit could only be purchased in season and a holiday away was only ever to visit the family. In recently reading what is now quite an old book in terms of such material, Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, I was intrigued to follow his explanations of the change agents that came along to stimulate this rapid change—the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the introduction of the web, uploading and outsourcing and the phlethora of technological toys such as mobile phones, ipods, instant messaging to name but a few. I would have to say I did feel my age as I recounted the “oh yes, I remember when that come in.” Interestingly these changes have actually impacted upon my own life, all in ways that have changed my world and my thinking.

My aha in reading Friedman was—how has our education system changed so that it can cater for those who now participate in this new world? My answer is yes, there have been changes but mostly incremental ones nothing as transformational as those reported on by Friedman.
The world that the children present in our primary schools right now are entering is one of constant change—in fact change is the constancy of life! Has our education system changed in line with the rest of the world or are we still instituting the same methods that no doubt were used on me, in those classrooms of yesteryear? Lots of food for thought.

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