Many folks are concerned that schools today are mostly about churning
out worker bees for uncaring corporations who are more than happy to chew up
employees and spit them out in favor of others, perhaps overseas, who are
cheaper. Like Mike
Parent, my guest blogger this week
, they are
worried about mission statements like that of the The New Jersey High School
Redesign Steering Committee
, which states that it is ‘working to build
public awareness and support for a more rigorous high school experience, one
that allows students to succeed in the workforce or in pursuing higher

I’m not one of those people. Although I, too, want my children to be happy,
creative, caring, self-directed, intellectually curious, and environmentally
aware, I also want them to be contributing members to society. And, if they
decide to challenge certain statuses quo, I want them to have the tools
to be able to do that successfully. I think that means preparing them to be
powerfully productive in the technology-suffused, globally-interconnected future
in which they’re going to live. If they can’t play, work, thrive, and influence others in that
world, they’re going to be marginalized, impotent outsiders.

So, with all due respect to Clay
, I see Did You
Know? 2.0
as a conversation starter for how the world is changing
around us but, like Karl Fisch,
I don’t see it as an overt call for preparing students solely for economic
competitiveness. Nor do I think it is fair to label William
Farren’s excellent Did You Ever Wonder? video
as a ‘vital
counterpoint’ to the issues in the Did You Know? video. I see no reason
why equipping students with 21st century skills is in opposition to preparing
them to be ecologically-responsible citizens. In fact, a strong argument could
be made that it is only by equipping our students with 21st century
skills that they will be in a position to solve the massive problems that we are
bestowing upon them

and Porras
note that we should be embracing the ‘genius of the and
rather than the ‘tyranny of the or.’ I agree. I will be preparing my
children to be productive 21st century citizens and employees. I will
be preparing my children to be environmentally-aware and
economically-productive. I am hoping – and, indeed, counting on – many others
doing the same.

One year ago:
multimedia textbooks: A strategic investment
and Online
multimedia textbooks: Follow-up