Since an early age, we have all been given advice about how to succeed at life. The most frequently given advice falls into these broad categories: study hard, get a good job, get married, start a family, etc.
School has little to do with students, grades have little to do with learning, employment and income have something to do with quality of life, and marriages all-to-often end in divorce.
What is success, and why do we expend so much energy asking people for advice on how to be successful?
“Don’t bother teaching your kids how to paint – we have cameras,” said nobody ever. Except that somebody did. An OECD education chief has decided that your children learning to create software is an utter waste of time due to how technology will evolve.
His line of thinking is the latest step forward in a results-based, quantifiable-over-quality approach to life and learning. Thinking that these two – life and learning – are distinct and separable is the first misstep down this path.
The human mind is the original camera. Although the mind does not exactly “take pictures” as we go about our day, exposure to any event changes what is on the film.
What happens to the film when we welcome technology into our lives – into our classrooms – without question?
You could say that our entire existence revolves around fixing them once they come into our conscious awareness. Some are personal, some are not.
Most of our problems affect our immediate well-being, otherwise we would not identify them as problems.
Sometimes they are inconsequential: a Sudoku puzzle in a book, for example. These are the problems that we create for ourselves and love to solve.
Others carry extreme consequences, but we rarely take pause for them. They never became personal.
As we go through life, we view the world through our particular lens. This view is uniquely ours and is shaped by our experiences and our perception of those experiences. Accordingly, two people may perceive the same event very differently.
What does this have to do with edtech?
There is a fundamental shift in how we interact with technology that has been progressing for a bit more than 15 years now. Shift Sight stands firmly on one side of this shift. Other companies are scrambling to get to the other side by any means possible.
This is a great divide in technology that defines how we interact with gadgets. The implications in schools (and edtech) are especially worrying.
If you follow technology news, you might catch an article or two about the benefits of open-source software. A few cavalier individuals are even on a crusade to open-source all of the software in the world.
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
As with most modern technology, we have become too distracted by it to notice the burden imposed by open-source software. It is rather severe.
How we see the world is based on the world that we have experienced. The advice that we give is the advice that we would give ourselves. If someone tells you that "you can't," they are actually saying that "I can't."
We are mirrors.
This is not a limitation, but by design. It is nearly impossible to summon something into our consciousness that we have never encountered. If you don't believe me, close your eyes and imagine a color that nobody has ever seen before. Good luck.
Fundamentally, people excel at doing two things. We invent games. We tell stories.
Most of our daily activity can be placed into one of these bins. Even if we are on autopilot while doing repetitive work, we may tell ourselves stories as we think about our past or future.
How is technology shaping our stories and games?
Here's your mental exercise tonight. Imagine that, in the photo above, each of those marbles is on a plate that you are holding. Now picture trying to dump them, single file, into a jar.
Well, on the upside, at least you don't need to expend mental energy cleaning up the mess.
This exercise has very important implications in your happiness and the overall well-being of this planet.
Ty is a Founder of Shift Sight, LLC.