“We Are Living in Exponential Times”

Watch this, guaranteed to make you think, whether you are an educator, a parent, or just a Homosapien residing on the planet.

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According to the website, Shifthappens:

“Did You Know?” originally started out as a PowerPoint presentation for a faculty meeting in August 2006 at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado, United States. The presentation “went viral” on the Web in February 2007 and, as of June 2007, had been seen by at least 5 million online viewers. Today the old and new versions of the online presentation have been seen by at least 15 million people, not including the countless others who have seen it at conferences, workshops, training institutes, and other venues.

The video has generated strong reactions, and been redesigned and remade more than once, as its intended audience has broadened. The original maker of the video is named Karl Fisch; he is the Director of Technology for Arapahoe High School. He blogs at The Fischbowl.

He explained the genesis of the “Did You Know” video here. For a taste of that post:

I put together a PowerPoint presentation with some (hopefully) thought-provoking ideas. I was hoping by telling some of these “stories” to our faculty, I could get them thinking about – and discussing with each other – the world our students are entering. To get them to really think about what our students are going to need to be successful in the 21st century, and then how that might impact what they do in their classrooms. It would also help the faculty that are not currently participating in my staff development join the conversation.

It went viral in early 2007. Fisch commented in his blog:

To tie this back to one of the major themes of this blog, it’s a different world out there. A world where anyone’s ideas can quickly spread if they happen to strike a chord. Where you don’t necessarily have to have a large company or a huge public relations effort to make an impact (although that still doesn’t hurt). And we need to be preparing our students to participate in such a world, to understand both the positive and the negative sides of that. To help them learn how to live and work in a rapidly changing world, where a fairly simple PowerPoint presentation that I almost didn’t even show to my staff has now been seen worldwide.

Since then, different people (Scott McLeod, for one,  XPLANE, for another, in cooperation with Mr. Fisch) tweaked and revised the presentation. The video above is, I’m fairly sure, the “new and improved, latest and greatest” version.

We are living in an amazing time. And somehow all of this seems to connect to the book I’m dying to read next:

I keep thinking of a line written by my musical hero — someone I consider the single greatest American artist of the past 100 years — Bob Dylan: “You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone . . .

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