The World’s Fastest Supercomputer Now Belongs to China

October 30, 2010

The WorldI’m not too sure what this will mean for the future, but it seems worth noting that the world’s fastest computer no longer resides in the United States.  As a teacher, why should I be concerned?

Because this example provides even more proof that the world is flattening.  The U.S. does not solely possess the ability to innovate and create technological breakthroughs, which should be common knowledge by now.  And I do not mean to be an alarmist.  However symbols matter and now China has an enviable symbol of technology muscle: The world’s fastest supercomputer.

Will our scientists pay a price for having to crunch data on the world’s second-fastest computer?  Will our national defense crumble because we cannot keep up with the processing speed of China’s newest behemoth?

Obviously we did not wake up today to a changed world order.  But as teachers we do need to take heed.  Our students will not have the luxury of lazily navigating life.  They will need skills and direction in order to be successful.  And economic prosperity will be harder to come by for those students who are not prepared to embrace this changing reality.  The United States will need to earn their place in the world.  The old-school sense of entitlement will not stand.  After all, if we only have the second-best technology, who should respect us?  Who will buy our debt and finance our future?

The answer is that less and less nations will be stepping up to the plate to buy that debt and to finance our rabid consumption.

So where does that leave our students?  Are they doomed to second place?

Never.  The United States has proved itself time and again throughout its history.  Our students can be prepared.  They can be given the tools to succeed.  Those of you who  read this blog know that I have banked on the six aptitudes described by Dan Pink in A Whole New Mind.  Our students will need to go beyond reading and writing.  They must create.

And in order for our students to create, we as teachers must upgrade our lesson plans.

In light of the U.S. losing this symbol of technological dominance, I reviewed my lesson plans from the past week.  I was lazy.  We took notes, the kids did worksheets, and they did not create.  This article from Mashable motivated me.  I don’t want my students to settle for second-best.  I want them to have the tools to master this new global order.  I want them to be happy and successful.

So with my energy resuming, I look to tomorrow.   My kids will draw what they are to be learning (Design).  They will create stories.  They will learn to empathize with others and they will see the meaning of their work.  And if I’m good, it will all feel like play!

The World’s Fastest Supercomputer Now Belongs to China.

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