In fifth grade, like all public school students in Massachusetts (nationwide?), I went through the drug-prevention program D.A.R.E. At the end of the program, we each had to write essays about why we would never do drugs. The winners got to read theirs on stage.* In my essay, I detailed all of the ways drugs would prevent me from achieving my goals of becoming a soccer player, a teacher, or an artist (I was a naive 11-year-old). I did not become any of these things.
I do a job that didn’t exist four years ago. It’s a job that can’t be encapsulated in one word, and usually requires a good four sentences to fully describe. Even a paragraph doesn’t really explain how I spend my day. According to the MacArthur Foundation, 65% of kids in elementary school now will likely end up doing work that hasn’t been invented yet. This fact and its implications for education are the subject of Cathy Davidson’s new book, Now You See It.
The NYT review of Davidson’s book is a great read in and of itself. “And above all, we must stop disparaging digital prowess just because some of us over 40 don’t happen to possess it. An institutional grudge match with the young can sabotage an entire culture.” I’m not over 40, but I do find myself in the camp of the doubters and disparagers from time to time. Since signing up for Twitter I have wasted hours out of every week reading about Kardashian antics. However, I have also watched more presidential press conferences (the White House tweets links to livestreams), widened the range of my reading material, and learned about the death of Bin Laden, the Oslo attacks and World Cup scores instantaneously.
Blessing and a curse? For sure. But it’s here to stay, so I best get on board before those 8-year-olds steal my job.
*I did not win. For the record, both kids who did win spent the bulk of the next 8 years high as a kite. D.A.R.E. failed to make any statistical impact and was defunded in 1998.
Related Post: Cory Doctorow on kids, the internet, privacy and surveillance.
Related Post: I hit 1,000 Facebook friends and can’t shut up about it.