Interlude: Social Era via Nilofer Merchant; Implications for Education

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Interlude: Social Era via Nilofer Merchant; Implications for Education

Taking advantage of sitting at the Toyota dealership in beautiful Hays, Kansas as they replace something called in inverter cooling pump. $600. Catching up on blog reviews, and here is one that caught my attention from Nilofer Merchant.

Ms. Merchant argues that we have entered a post-Information Age paradigm, shifting from decision-making based on enhanced value through data to enhanced value through social interaction.  Most of us automatically link “social” to “media” as she points out, when in fact social interactions have a completely new and more valuable context.  This from her post:

Here’s the simplest way to define the Social Era: the industrial era primarily honored the institution as a construct of creating value. And the information age (inclusive of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 phases) primarily honored the value that data could provide to institutional value creation. It allowed for greater efficiency to do the same things that were done in the industrial era. The Social Era honors the value creation starting with the single unit of a connected human. In this framework, powerful organizations look less like an 800-pound gorilla and more like fast, fluid, flexible networks of connected individuals — like, say, a herd of 800 nimble gazelles. 

I have been writing and thinking a lot about those same terms “fluid, fast, and flexible” and how they apply to education.  It is the increased rate of change in information creation and exchange that is the single greatest external stress factor that is driving the need for educational innovation.

This Journey of Learning, (which finds me taking an unexpected break today, but hopefully learning from it, embracing patience, and taking time to reflect), is an example of how we will be operating in the future like that herd of gazelles.  Some will argue that herd mentality is uncreative, following instead of leading, but in this they will miss the point.  And the point is this:

In America alone (and there is every reason to expand and not regionalize the connectivity) there are a million educators and tens of millions of students who can contribute to co-learning and collective self-evolution.  A few of these interactions will be face-to-face, but all of it will be mind-to-mind.  This is the cognitosphere I have posited as the critical linking mechanism of a massively connected knowledge base. It is a system based on the laws and characteristics which govern natural ecosystems, not Industrial Age or Information Age designed outcomes. School leaders should jump their organizations into this neural network as deeply as possible; it is how we are all going to work.

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By | 2012-09-13T15:36:06+00:00 September 13th, 2012|Governance and leadership, Innovation in Education|2 Comments

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  1. boadams1 September 13, 2012 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Reminds me of “murmurations” – that phenom of flocks of starlings and a few other species that fly in undulating symphony. Literally thousands and thousands of birds.

    Also reminds me of Derek Sivers 3-min TED talk about following and the importance of the first follower.

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