Skills for the 21st Century

Cognitive and Literacy Skills for Success in a Fast-Paced Technological Age

Futurism – Shift Happens

Posted by durencls on March 25, 2010

The web is a fascinating place – connections and ideas linked in an almost infinite variety. Take yesterday – I was composing the post on the AALPD digital literacy discussion and chanced upon a note about the new AALPD Communities of Practice Wiki – which was new to me. Rooting around in there I found this great YouTube video from 2006/7:  

 Shift Happens

Now while this was created in 2006 for a High School staff of 150, and was updated in 2007, it certainly still speaks to the issue of preparing learners (child, youth or adult) for the 21st century workplace.  I was, in particular, struck by two statements made. The first I’ve paraphrased:

In 2007, the amount of technical information was estimated to be doubling every 2 YEARS. It was predicted THEN that in 2010 it will be doubling every 72 HOURS. 

Wow – that is NOW. What will it be in another 2 years? How can I/we/the planet ever keep up?

The second statement is verbatim below:

“We are currently preparing students for jobs and technologies that don’t yet exist…in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”

Talk about underscoring our point!  Flexibility and the ability to not only learn quickly, but problem solve and “wing it” just seems to be an absolute MUST!

Also, these two points really speak to the idea that as a population, we will simply HAVE to rely on each other as a community for information. Web 2.0 indeed.



2 Responses to “Futurism – Shift Happens”

  1. Quick update re the rate of growth in information:
    in 2009, the amount of digital information created and replicated worldwide is estimated at about 700 Exabytes (EB). An Exabyte is 1 billion Gigabytes, or 10 to the 19th power bytes of information.

    So this number would look like 700,000,000,000 (700 billion) GB
    or roughly 1.4 trillion CDs
    or roughly 1.05 quadrillion floppy disks
    or roughly 700,000,000,000,000,000 (that’s 700 quadrillion) pages of simple double spaced text. That’s more than all the pages in all the books* in the Library of congress – produced PER yer! (*the LoC holds many things other than books, but that’s still a LOT of information!)

    In 2008 that number was roughly 475 exabytes, meaning that digital information produced almost doubled in ONE Year and 2010 is likley to produce over 1,000 exabytes of digital information – or over one Zettabyte (

  2. wrmcnutt said

    With that kind of data flow, you don’t really absorb it, you just RIDE it.

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