When Tony Wagner, the Harvard education specialist, describes his job today, he says he’s “a translator between two hostile tribes” — the education world and the business world, the people who teach our kids and the people who give them jobs. Wagner’s argument in his book “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World” is that our K-12 and college tracks are not consistently “adding the value and teaching the skills that matter most in the marketplace.
This is dangerous at a time when there is increasingly no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skilled job — the thing that sustained the middle class in the last generation. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job. Every middle-class job today is being pulled up, out or down faster than ever. That is, it either requires more skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being buried — made obsolete — faster than ever. Which is why the goal of education today, argues Wagner, should not be to make every child “college ready” but “innovation ready” — ready to add value to whatever they do.
Today,” Wagner said via e-mail, “because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge.”
Read the full article over at The New York Times, courtesy of Thomas L. Friedman.
One of my personal favorite moments from the article was when the author, Friedman, discussed the current state of affairs. “My generation had it easy. We got to “find” a job. But, more than ever, our kids will have to ‘invent’ a job. (Fortunately, in today’s world, that’s easier and cheaper than ever before.) Sure, the lucky ones will find their first job, but, given the pace of change today, they will have to reinvent, re-engineer and reimagine that job much more often than their parents if they want to advance in it.”
In the age of free information, ignorance is a choice. The ability to innovate, to adapt, to evolve with the times, is crucial to your continued success on a global scale. While there are still a handful of brick-and-mortar examples that continue to hold steady (albeit in very specific, tight niches), the vast majority of jobs have moved into the digital era, which means they are available to anyone on a global basis. The above photo is accurate beyond a shadow of a doubt: information that you previously had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to have access to is now available freely on the Internet, which means higher education is largely irrelevant in the modern era.
That’s not to say that there aren’t jobs which still require specialized knowledge. Dentistry, for example. Quantum physics. Neuroscience. But these are nothing more than a handful of degrees that require the use of a dedicated education system. The vast majority of other degrees (such as the world’s most over-marketed and least useful, the Masters of Business Administration) are available completely for free online.
Not only that, but there are jobs today which did not exist even as few as five years ago. Social media managers, for example. To this day, the vast majority of universities do not have a degree program for social media, nor do they have a university program for self-publishing books or blogging for a living or creating a YouTube channel and building up a brand. These are jobs which have been created out of the ether that is Virtual Reality, the digital era that we are now living in.
Automobiles. Airplanes. Telephone. Computers. Internet. WiFi. Crowd funding. Faster and faster. Onward and upward. Human ingenuity knows no bounds, for we are the children of the universe: infinite in our potential for expansion and growth.
Our understanding and growth have exponentially increased at every turn. Leaps and bounds are happening within a matter of months now, rather than decades apart. Just as the Mayans predicted with their endless cycles of compounded and sped-up cycles as things progressively begin to vibrate faster and faster and faster until we reached the end of the last era and entered into the endless possibility stage and moved into the great beyond, the infinite universe.
With the power of free information on a global scale, with global communication, comes the ability to advance the entire race forward at the same time. No more “my country versus your country”. No more nationalist beliefs holding people back from working side by side over a misguided notion that because someone was born somewhere else they are inferior. No more 99% versus 1%. No more reliance on a system of control telling you how to think, how to work, how to live. There is only the Human Experience as the entire planet works together to achieve the same goals.
We have the ability to create infinite realities merely through thought and will. To create something in a digital space and have that extend outwards into the physical realm. Blogs. Websites. YouTube videos. Digital eBooks and other products. We understand, finally, the symbiotic nature of it all, and the planet is moving away from capitalist and selfish systems of personal gratification and into a global community of sharing, networking and outward expansion and understanding.
In the words of Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
In short, those who cannot adapt to the times, those who refuse to evolve with the digital era, those who cannot comprehend the vastness of the universe and their own infinite potential, will be left behind.
Evolution does not wait for the weak, the slow, the ignorant. It is survival of the fittest, and only those who have the desire to educate themselves, to unplug from The Matrix, who will mature into the next stage of The Human Experience.
The only people suffering from the so-called “global crisis” are those who have put their faith in credit systems, in governments, in the so-called “higher education” system and their so-called “required” degrees. The only ones currently sitting around without any work and living third-world lives, even in first-world countries, are those who choose to be ignorant, such as this poor sap who went from a $75,000 a year job as an architect to making less than poverty-level income (according to U.S. standards) with the snap of a finger.
He has submitted more than 3,000 resumes in a period of three years, which have only generated a half-dozen interviews…and a mere $10,000 per year for his efforts, and yet despite all of this, despite thousands of hours of wasted time and energy, despite three years of watching his life savings drain away, despite the the fact that the jobs he once thrived on no longer exist, he still prefers to stay plugged into The Matrix and live within the illusion.
He cannot comprehend the changes the world is going through because he refuses to unplug, to wake up, to enlighten himself. He is, as Alvin Toffler described, one of the illiterate of the 21st century. A man living in the dark, choosing to remain ignorant when there is a world of free information at his fingertips, freely available and freely accessible to anyone, anywhere, regardless of language, birthplace, religion or color of skin.
We are living in a time of infinite possibilities. That is what the new era represents. A time of change. A time of growth. With our understanding of the universal truths, we realize that we don’t have to do things the way they have been done before. The credit system or the banking system or the so-called global crisis are nothing more than peripheral. Our focus is on the future, on the new way of doing things, on the global consciousness of the entire planet working towards common goals and expanding our knowledge of science and technology to unlock the rest of the mysteries of the universe.
The journey is far from over, my friends. The best is certainly yet to come.