Monday, June 02, 2008

The Future of Work (and Education)


Social Media in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

This commoncraft video on social media, by using the analogy of ice cream production, does a great job of demonstrating an outcome of Web 2.0 that I increasingly see as inevitable (and positive): a significantly more entrepreneurial world where business, interest, and passion can intersect on idea and projects in the "long tail."

Because many traditional barriers to product or service creation and marketing have been obliterated by the web, and the cost of failure has largely been reduced as well, specialty and niche businesses are likely to explode. I believe that a cornucopia of businesses (and social movements) will provide opportunities for amazingly varied work and careers, and that traditional businesses will also have to gravitate toward a more "engaged" relationship with their customers.

The impact on education seems clear. Students who learn to be self-motivated, highly-engaged, and proactive will thrive in the new world. The same "long tail" effect, when applied to educational opportunities, means that students will be able not only to study from a much broader range of topics than we've traditionally offered in "brick and mortar" schooling, but they will likely be able to actually participate in original work and research in a field of their choosing well before even applying to college.
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