Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My seniors are overwhelmingly interested in my next level of career development. I've been getting advice, encouragement, portfolio samplers and additional materials from them in the last few weeks, ever since I inquired about what's next.

Lazy slob that I am, I'm not really inclined to much thought beyond my next meal. But knowing that people believe in me and are supporting me in this, the prospect has become a lot more exciting. In gaming, we call this process "levelling up"; in reality, forward movement actually does mean something more than just a bunch of pixel enhancements on an LCD screen.

Let's get something clear. It isn't about mo' clout or mo' money, though they're nice too. What gets my juices flowing is that I can define on my own terms what area of specialization I want to develop in. By so doing, I could find myself right on the cutting edge of the industry where all the exciting things are happening, where few people understand precisely what is going on and what it all means.

Here's my problem: the above paragraph is probably gibberish to anyone living outside my brain. I know what I want, but I haven't yet found the words to describe it to anyone else. Well, that doesn't mean I won't try. Here goes:

This afternoon, I was sourcing materials for use in class. I was looking for video clips about future technology to inspire the kids in their small group research project. Many of the clips I looked at posed questions about the adequacy of our current education system in meeting the needs of the 21st century. Other clips showed off the capabilities of current developments in technology and projected their applications in the years ahead.

I realized that what the future promised was already what I was doing, only faster, more streamlined, seamless, portable and invisible. Gathering a wealth of information today is already quite easy. Search engines are fast and getting more reliable, streaming video is comparatively lo-res but already quite watchable. Information is still manipulated through mediated interface i/o systems (i.e., physical keyboard-mouse-monitor combinations), but we have solid platforms for social and collaborative networking.

The capabilities of intelligence wizardry we have already. A 'net search yields material we ask for, plus other possibly related material as well. A video clip contains expert opinions and projections from named interviewees. If we pause the video and search the names onscreen, we easily find information about them; their credentials; other works they have done; the organization they work for and its field of business/research... ad infinitum, almost. Depending on how curious we are, our minds can wander as far as our fingers are able to type and click.

The learning potential of our existing everyday technology is aready quite awesome, if we know how to use it properly. The future promises learning that will be a lot more intuitive, perhaps even unconscious, in the way that the individual mind and our collective human consciousness will be able to intertwine and interact with each other.

I think I know what I want now. My niche will not be for any particular subject. I want to teach people to use the technology of the day to teach themselves according to their own needs and interests. Perhaps I might have to phrase that in more academic terms if I want to be taken seriously.

Other than that, there's the mundane stuff of having to put together a portfolio spanning the last three years (current year inclusive) of stuff I've been doing as a JC tutor. Now, that will deserve an entry or more on its own.

Somewhere in here is the closest thing I'll ever get to a new year's resolution. Wish me fair winds and good fortune!

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