In August 2012, I took the above picture at a Justin Bieber concert (don’t judge, it was for research) in Sydney, Australia. I am now sitting at a session in Toronto, Canada, with Bruce Dixon (from Melbourne, Australia) whom I have never met until only recently. What kind of blew my mind was that he used this picture (legally as it is Creative Commons licensed) in a presentation not knowing that I was the one who had taken the picture in the first place; I had to tell him this after. The world is so much smaller now and I think we are better off for that fact.
He did have some questions about the picture above:
Who taught these kids to take a picture with this device?
Who taught these kids to create a video with this device?
Who taught these kids to create any type of media with this phone and then share it through a social network with anyone they want to in the world?
If these kids can do all of these things with this phone and have the ability to learn all of these things on their own, why are they often banned from schools?
Here is my question…What could we be doing with that knowledge to further the opportunities for learning in our schools? Sharing a video from a Bieber concert is not transformative learning but is there not something there that we can build upon?
Inside big companies, we take organizational boundaries for granted. Traditional organizational logic suggests that most employees of big corporations should primarily only talk to other people at their organization to do their work and should only engage with “competitors” when a deal is being brokered or there is a particular need for cross-sector collaboration. In this frame, companies are quite protective of their intellectual property and company secrets and see any knowledge sharing between “competitors” as a weakening of their core assets.
To a teenager growing up in a networked world, this model makes absolutely zero sense. Even if they’ve been trained in a traditional educational environment where collaboration is pooh-poohed, if they have access to the internet, they’ve developed a sensibility for obtaining knowledge from a wide variety of sources. More importantly, many youth in creative class environments are growing up with the idea that knowledge is something that you tap into, not something you innately have. Knowing where to turn to get relevant information is often as valued as knowing the answer.
And then this quote from the same article:
Building lifelong learners means instilling curiosity, but it also means helping people recognize how important it is that they continuously surround themselves by people that they can learn from. And what this means is that people need to learn how to connect to new people on a regular basis.
What do you think? Is there not a not a disconnect between this picture, the way that our kids are growing up, and the world that we are used to (not necessarily live in) now?