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Technology Is The Key To 21st Century Education

by Employee ‎12-08-2011 11:32 PM - edited ‎12-08-2011 11:35 PM

Falls133x275.jpgOur guest blogger today is Jason Falls, a leading educator, public speaker and thinker in the world of digital marketing and social media. He is a strong advocate of the use of social media in the classroom. Falls is the fifth speaker in the Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series. His video interview is available for free only in the Verizon Thinkfinity Community section of the Verizon website.


Education without technology — from pre-school through post-graduate level training — will kill our future. Certainly, not the future of current educators. But for today's students to be equipped for the workforce they will enter, technology will be the most important foundation we can lay for them.


Don't want to believe some Internet marketing guy with a bend for literacy? How about Karl Fisch, renowned educator and author of the "Did You Know/Shift Happens" lectures. He most famously summed up our predicament and prescribed our solution with his quote:


"We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't exist, using technologies that haven't been invented, in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet."


What that means is that we can't be charged with teaching our children what they need to know to succeed in the world anymore. We have to be charged with teaching them to teach themselves. Today's technology, business and Internet phenoms didn't learn about social technologies, complex data systems and code languages in school. They taught themselves, learned to hack and created new worlds.


Today's entrepreneurs will be tomorrow's average bears. But only if we embrace the fact we're now charged with teaching them to be prepared rather than preparing them for what we think will come.


On a recent visit to the Verizon Innovation Center in Waltham, Mass., I saw first-hand how technology is changing our world now. How the ubiquity of wireless Internet creates smarter cars, homes, safety systems and even power grids. The engineers building tomorrow can only imagine what it will look like once finished. And you as an educator are supposed to prepare young people to not just embrace tomorrow, but run the whole thing?


Watch the YouTube video, "A Magazine Is An iPad That Does Not Work." which as of this writing has over 3.2 million views, of  an 18-month old trying to pinch and scroll a printed magazine. This is who we're educating today.


This is why I'm excited that the National Center for Family Literacy is producing programs like Wonderopolis on Verizon's It not only teaches many of the same lessons we have to teach children about the world and life, but does so using technology as its core platform. At a minimum, it will expose children to web-based an interactive content. Perhaps it may even encourage them to create their own, which is a learning experience in and of itself.


This is also why I'm excited the Verizon Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series exists — to bring new ideas and practices in education to the table to help committed educators fuel their passion for allowing children to fuel theirs.


The overachievers of tomorrow will be those who were raised with technology as the core of their education in the home. The ones that lead the next generation will be those that have it as the core of their education in both home and school.


What are we waiting for? Let's learn so they can.


Jason Falls is an author, speaker and CEO of Social Media Explorer, a digital marketing and social media information and education products company based in Louisville, Ky. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Family Literacy and a guest speaker in this year's Thinkfinity Education Speaker Series, available only in the Thinkfinity Community.

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About the Authors

Rose Kirk

V.P. of Global Corporate Citizenship and President of the Verizon Foundation

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Rose leads Verizon's global corporate responsibility initiatives and philanthropic strategy, which focuses on applying Verizon's technology to improve education, healthcare and energy management.

James Gowen

Chief Sustainability Officer/
V.P. of Services Operations

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James oversees Verizon’s supply chain, vehicle fleet, investment recovery, purchasing and materials management and sustainability initiatives.

Jack McArtney

Director of Corporate and Community Responsibility

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Jack promotes digital wellness and online safety. He works with parents, educators, service providers, application developers and industry leaders to foster responsible use of Verizon's mobile and broadband networks.

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