Boston Public Library’s Simple Minds Conference

Boston Public Library’s Simple Minds Conference

Boston Public Library’s Simple Minds Conference

In today’s “single-proficient world,” it seems that children are expected to learn even in the most quiet or inconvenient places. That was precisely the message from Keith Baker when he spoke to the Boston Public Library’s Simple Minds Conference last month about “Why We Need a Learning Revolution”.

During his keynote speech to a packed room at the library, Baker brought to life some of the benefits of computer use for students. He told the gathering that our country must rediscover an old, but in need of reinvention, “Universal Connectivity”. That means teachers need to treat computer usage as a professional skill and have students doing more than just surfing the web to their hearts’ content.

Here’s an excerpt from his speech:

“Even if you only had to read a postcard one day in the year 2007, you knew the scale of change we were undergoing in our world because of computer technology. That was 100 years ago for wire. Just try to picture a world without wireless communications. After what we have seen from the rise of the Internet, it is surprising that anyone would not anticipate an evolution to e-commerce. When I was a kid growing up in the 1950s, you only had your parents and neighbors. You could communicate with anyone from America, Canada, and even as far away as Europe in an instant. No phone calls, no email, not a single internet site. The world was a vast gray place of wood smoke and boiling borscht. In 2016, you can be anywhere and have a presence in the marketplace instantly. It seems everyone and everything is connected and we’re still trying to catch up to this new world of information.

Computer technology has changed everything, from buying a car and buying and selling things over the internet, to paying our bills online. Sure, we talk about logistics and supply chain and manufacturing processes, but when you ask 10 companies in your community about logistics they will barely mention IT. We do not say we need to improve logistics. We just need to have a more efficient online delivery system, and cheaper and quicker delivery. Without acknowledging the power of IT, the goal of logistics usually does not increase. This is a major problem, because if logistics is not improved, things such as product shortages and outages will continue to happen.

… And just as FedEx was essential to delivering airline tickets in the 1950s, in the 80s and 90s Amazon needed an established parcel service to service the student market, before launching Kindle and selling it to the consumer in the 2000s.

The IT revolution is here and still playing out, in just about every business sector. No longer is the definition of success based on size, the amount of profit, size of the market, or the economic value created. What is working is the ability to link human insight to large, central servers. This is what we need to focus on moving forward: the ability to link computer communication systems with human processes, making human work more efficient and creating efficiency for people as well as the profit.

What about government? The online educational space is thriving with government education sites, where it is very easy to create an account, and where free educational resources are regularly updated, subject to copyright and availability.

In the evolving educational space, computers have completely revolutionized teaching and learning, and with them have created a long list of supercomputers running online courses to instantly educate students in everything from maths to history. Students who log on have this capacity in their pockets; those who use the Internet to access their learning are no longer constrained to sitting in front of a book to have a serious conversation. Their whole world is at their fingertips, and they have the ability to meet their goals faster than their previous generation.”

Read more about the Boston Public Library’s Simple Minds Conference, July 27-30, on their blog.

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Article republished with permission from CRRInsights

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