What if a four-cent VW bug could travel across Canada in less than a second and on so little gas you wouldn’t even count it?  Let’s talk about acceleration.

Understanding our rapidly changing culture is essential for parents and educators preparing children for the future we cannot see.

Of course, one can never see the future, so why is it more challenging now and different from any other generation?  What must be rooted or unchanging?  What must change and evolve likely at a faster rate than ever before?   Why is it so incredibly difficult to determine the difference?  How can we create consensus within our educational communities about these decisions?

Acceleration

Before breakfast today, I read a Wired.com post discussing the key to, “surviving the transformation driven by the internet and AI, which is shattering the Newtonian predictability of the past and replacing it with a Heisenbergian world of complexity and uncertainty.”

Heisenberg articulated principles of velocity.  The journey from 0-60mph is the only human experience we can all relate to that helps us understand the rate of change and acceleration happening in our society currently.

Remember before 2007?  There weren’t smart phones, the cloud, artificial intelligence, or big data.  We couldn’t conceive that big data might create new knowledge doubling at a rate of every 12 hours.

Photo by toine Garnier on Unsplash

The VW Bug

Thomas L. Friedman, in his book Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Acclerations, tickled my thinking all summer.  The 500 pages are dripping with research and connections that help make sense of this age of acceleration.

He described three accelerations:  technology, globalization and the market, and Mother Nature.  Technology is only one of those accelerations.  I think it feels obvious to all of us how technology is changing our lives, daily.  Friedman puts more grit to it when he describes the advent of the microchip in 1958 and Gordon Moore’s prediction in an Electronics article in 1965 that technology would advance from about 60 elements on an integrated chip to 60,000 in ten years.  AND, it came true.  While the pace didn’t continue to be a factor of two per year, our processors continued to double every two years and the price remained the same.

Moore’s Law is the lynchpin of acceleration in technology.  It is fuelling all of the other accelerations mentioned above.  Now, we are in the age of the Internet of Things, it is estimated that 50 billion devices will be connected by 2020.

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

So, if the same improvements happened to the 1971 Beetle, a car I happened to have as a feature of my adolescence, Friedman describes, “These are the numbers:  Today, that Beetle would be able to go about three hundred thousand miles per hour.  it would get two million miles per gallon of gas, and it would cost four cents!”

The Inquiry

So what creates the conditions for thriving in this age of acceleration?  How should we manage the technology and teach our children to do the same?

What grounds you these days?

Just on a personal note, my family and the relationships around me, those that I both nourish and am nourished by, are my soil.  I set aside time, unplug, and get present (except when I’m blogging for you).  I design my weekends to offer a wide space for my family and friendships.  Food and drink and joyful connection abound.  Then, I draw up the hope, rejuvenation, and the health I need to thrive during our fast-paced weeks.

It feeds me to participate in my family of faith.  I love to sing and chat and bow and honour our sacred journey: one of forgiveness, acceptance, and love for us all.

My organization rituals and my drive for clarity are a focus.  My value on rest and sleep continues to grow.  Also, I take the time to Take a Breath each day and moving my body is crucial.  Nature is my inspiration and I cherish the squirrel, the hummingbird, and the lake.

In my backyard

As I am considering our Learn Forward communities, I wonder how we are overlaying these personal ways of creating the conditions for thriving in our classrooms and schools?

I will continue to outline Friedman’s description of the acceleration of the market and Mother Nature in upcoming blog posts.  It will set the stage for what must be “Rooted!”

For the sake of the children,

Karine

P.S.  Read more about how the stories of our summer and our lives deepen our roots and ready us for a new school year!