Not at all on topic…


I had thought about writing something about the Google vs. Universities lawsuit/scandal on going, but there isn’t much new I can write at the moment, and it has been given pretty good coverage across the Internet already.  So, I have decided to go off topic today and give you something short, but still kinda cool.

This has nothing to do with Libraries, but it does have to do with technology, and the advances that we are making with our knowledge as humans.

The Kepler space telescope recently found evidence of a planet that orbits two suns (read about it HERE) and that got me thinking about how fast we are learning and discovering new things; and how hard it is to keep abreast of everything.

Now, this isn’t some whimsical ode to the greatness of humanity and our inevitable march forward, but rather a nod to how quickly we are gathering new information, and how difficult it is to stay ‘current’. It seems in every field there is an explosion of research and progress, and I suppose the question could be asked, is that a result of our connectivity via technology and the internet, or is technology and the internet a product of that explosion of knowledge?

That question could be debated for a long time, and is not a new one.

What I do wonder though, is how far do we see this going, and how, in a world like this, will it be possible for educators to maintain their place for any length of time?

Let me explain.

When I went to elementary and high school, I was taught by many teachers of many different ages. There were definitely some older educators, and I wonder, is that perhaps a relic of the past? Is it even possible for a teacher to stay abreast enough in their field to have a career that is 30 – 40 years long, without becoming outdated or behind the times?

It is nice to think that we may be able to keep on top of a certain part of our fields, and that may ever be possible. But has education become a young man/woman’s game? At least at the elementary and secondary level where their is a much greater range of material that needs to be taught?

Surely that can’t be true, can it?

When I think about how hard it is to adapt curriculum to changes, and of the teachers that we have all worked with that seem behind the times and stuck in their ways, I wonder not ‘will’ this happen to new teachers, but rather, how soon?

Perhaps this is a little pessimistic, but I think it may be a valid, albeit difficult question. Undoubtedly, there is a place for older, more seasoned educators. Experience in invaluable, and helps to make sure things aren’t changed so quickly that unforeseen, or perhaps foreseeable, problems don’t needlessly arise.

But is the day coming when after 10 years, 15 years, 5 years even, that what you teach will be outdated?

In other words, how long can you stay on topic, before the topic has left you behind?


One thought on “Not at all on topic…”

  1. Just a quick thought. As the half-life of “content” shortens, it becomes more and more important for teachers to pay attention to equipping learners with the skills to answer and re-answer their own questions. It doesn’t make current content irrelevant, but rather, suggests that it is the first iteration of several times it will need to be refreshed.

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