A Note About The Future

August 13, 2012

I described here the argument that we are now in an era of unprecedented technological change, which means it is no longer worth learning knowledge rather than skills.

Here is a really good example of that argument:

“…we find ourselves in a rapidly changing and unpredictable culture. It seems almost impossible to foresee the particular ways in which it will change in the near future or the particular problems which will be paramount in five or ten years. Under these conditions, much emphasis must be placed in the schools on the development of generalized ways of attacking problems and on knowledge which can be applied to a wide range of new situations. That is, we have the task of preparing individuals for problems that cannot be foreseen in advance, and about all that can be done under such conditions is to help the student acquire generalized intellectual abilities and skills which will serve him well in many new situations…”

Want to guess where it comes from? “Shift Happens”, maybe? Guy Claxton? A speech by Stephen Twigg?

You might have a better chance of guessing if I show you the complete version of the first sentence:

“Whatever the case in the past, it is very clear that in the middle of the 20th century we find ourselves in a rapidly changing and unpredictable culture.” [my italics]

It actually comes from the original 1956 edition of Bloom’s “Taxonomy of Educational Objectives”.

Next time somebody justifies dumbing-down by appealing to technological change as a feature of the 21st century, remember that they are using an argument that has been around since (at least) about the time of the invention of Tipp-ex.

Of course, the difference between then and now is that then culture was indeed changing rapidly and unpredictably for the majority.


One comment

  1. […] A Note About The Future […]

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