WorldWideFuture Weblog

the future of education, politics, science and art

A wave of the future

Well, it has been a while since I last posted. The spring always brings a ramp up of work related activity, bumps most other tasks aside.  Tine for spring cleaning, including my brain!

Anyway, I’m taking another direction, returning to teaching after 10 years at a consultant at the school board level. A whole new kind of stress, but as a teacher of communications technology, I will be back in the action of keeping up to date with the latest technologies, and helping the next gen to understand their opportunities in the new age we live in.

Brings me to an awesome development I just saw from the people at Google, the empire that never seems to sleep! Google Wave will replace everything we have been doing to now…email, blogging, twittering, IM, photo  albums, you name it.

Long video, (1 hour -20min) but I have seen the future and it is exhilarating. Remember the time we were all hearing about modeless software? Maybe this is it, eh?

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May 30, 2009 Posted by | Communication, education, future | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President;

Congratulations on this fine day for being sworn in as the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. Your speech today was outstanding. I never thought I would say this but today I wish I was American. You have come to this point to bring hope for a brighter future not only for the people you politically represent, but also for the people of the world.

I am sure you know of the joy and the hopes you have wrought from all quarters of the globe. So many of us consider you the foundation of change we hoped for from the United States of America. So many are depending on you to bring about a dramatic change of direction, to make the mark of historical change that comes once in a generation, to finally usher in the 21st century we were all expecting. It is a heavy burden no doubt. I am sure you must feel the weight of the ages, as Lincoln himself must have felt as he too tried to heal the wounds of misdirection and loss of purpose. I wonder what Lincoln would say right now? I am sure he too would be impressed with the hope you represent, and would worry about the mantle of responsibility you now wear. We on the outside of America can only trust that you will have the foresight and wisdom to fulfill your destiny as the leader of a new age.

Watching Obama's Inauguration Speech via web 09.01.20

Watching Obama's Inauguration Speech via web 09.01.20

Our hopes and fears are with you to live up to the promise of becoming the first global president of the United States. In trying economic times, with the constant threat of those who will work against freedom, we truly hope that you find the courage to defeat the forces of cynicism and insularity and protectionism that have threatened the foundations of freedom and democracy for nearly a decade now. We hope you will have the courage to end the pessimistic politics of Fortress America. We hope you will have the courage to finally make America green and to work with the rest of the world to create a truly sustainable future.

Watching Obama's Inauguration Speech via TV 09.01.20

Watching Obama's Inauguration Speech via TV 09.01.20

Long live your words last November: “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”

Amen, Mr. President.

January 21, 2009 Posted by | economy, future, politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A call to arms for change in education

We live in a scientific and technological world…one affected daily by innovations in manufacturing, transportation, medicine, communications…every facet of our lives. In order to survive and thrive in today and tomorrow’s economy one must be scientifically and technologically literate. Scientific and technological literacy is about understanding how technology affects our society and our lives, and is about learning the skills to utilize technology effectively. It is about being better-informed consumers and producers; it is about finding one’s role in the infrastructure that makes our society run; it is about ensuring our economic future.

The consequences of a scientific and technological illiterate population are profound. Governments and corporations can “pull the wool over your eyes”, can obfuscate facts and get away with lies and misrepresentations. Look into any political campaign, and you will find loose facts and catering to the uninformed masses. The media can either be fooled, or can fool us, as to the workings of society, government and the planet. A looming environmental catastrophe can be glossed over a la whispering Jedi knight style: “There is nothing to be seen here, move on”. Statistics can be used and abused in endless ways; the daily news is full of so-called facts that the untrained eye or ear might not pick up. Look into the recent political campaigns in the US and Canada, once the ill managed banks and brokerages broke down everyone scrambled to play messiah…we will bring jobs! It is all about jobs! We will fix the [name your crises here]. Hard not to be cynical.

Without scientifically and technologically knowledgeable citizens, industry and businesses cannot find skilled employees. Without skilled and knowledgeable managers and administrators, companies lose direction or are misdirected. Money is wasted or lost, jobs are lost, and the economy suffers. Innovation goes elsewhere, and the best and the brightest goes where innovation lives. The right talent is not connected with the right career. Opportunities for the young in all destinations disappear; society lacks the means to maintain and grow.

Society has a role to play in preparing young people to be successful scientific and technologically literate citizens. (And yes, it is society, not just education that needs to play the role. If industry and business needs strong workers, then get involved and help teach, provide opportunities for experiential learning.

Through a strong and sustainable technological and scientific education, we can strengthen and build the human infrastructure of our society, and ensure a strong economic future. The old Industrial Age model of education, the well-oiled cookie-cutter stamping machine called public education has to finally go and be replaced by a future-thinking, adaptable, multi-pathway and experiential approach where learning the tools of inquiring science and technology is not optional.


Great grandmother and grandfather

My great grandfather, school headmaster Robert McAlister of Balleyclaire, Northern Ireland. Would he understand the needs of today's student?

We must take the necessary steps to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate in a robust, consistent and sustainable technological and scientific education. A bright future for tomorrow’s leaders will be the result of concerted effort to provide a 21st century education that teaches today’s student to be adaptable, to be discerning, to be inquisitive. (Just ask the tigers and dragons of the east what that entails).

At least in America they have a “change they can believe in”, (we here in Canada have another 2-4 years of the same old story). Hopefully soon we will have a President Obama making the Dramatic Difference. Will it happen? Will the west return to historic engineering and heroic science? Will we go to the moon or remain stuck in the sands of the desert?

November 14, 2008 Posted by | education, future | , , , , , , | Leave a comment