When Time Magazine named “You” their “Person of the Year” some time back, I thought it was a cop out. I thought that this prestigious magazine couldn’t make the hard call, so they just went with something easy-cheesy.
But that was back in 2006. Then I ran into this article highlighting the fact that YouTube has a higher viewership than the networks. It’s worth the time to read the article, but here are a few highlights:
- YouTube’s viewership is over 2 Billion per day
- That is more than all three networks, combined, during prime time
- A full day’s worth of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute
Now this by no means indicates the end of network television, but it does raise some interesting questions about what we will consider “television” in the future. After all, who would have thought that user-generated content would be viewed more than something like “American Idol”?
So maybe Time Magazine was onto something. Maybe they had considered the demise of the “Man in the Grey Flannel Suit” way back four years ago. Maybe they actually knew that this little upstart known as YouTube would rocket past the networks in just four short years.
So I began to think of my students and the future they would inherit. The future where uploaded content, created by everyday people, would be the preferred entertainment of the living room.
But Dan Pink had already looked into this future in his book Free Agent Nation. In fact Thomas Friedman had eluded to the reign of the individual as part of rapid globalization in his book The World Is Flat.
Both of these authors analyzed the technology and world events that have placed single individuals in a position of power and opportunity that had been unimaginable until recent times. One person can write a blog that reaches billions. And for the cost of a few pennies a day. In the words of Time Magazine, You. Or in the words of a teacher. “My Students.”
And this is where the right-brain aptitudes outlined by Dan Pink in A Whole New Mind come into play. We need to teach our students to create. They need to learn the elements of Story in order to create content. They need to understand the basic concepts of Design in order to make things easily understood. We must tech them Empathy and Meaning so that they can create impactful and useful content in this new age. They need to have the skills and tools that will allow them to extract relevant information for themselves. (Symphony)
It may sound like quite a bit to ask, but I don’t think it is impossible. If we focus on the six aptitudes, we provide ourselves an easy framework that allows us to design effective activities. It’s not all about technology. It’s the “High Touch” that Dan Pink describes. You can use story boards and visual note-taking with pen and paper. It still creates content. It still develops the right brain, and it still prepares our kids for the future.
So my apologies to Time Magazine, and my congratulations to YouTube. The future is approaching rapidly, and I feel confident that our kids will be ready.Share