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AND SO IT COMES FULL CIRCLE

February 1, 2012

Once upon a time in another life, the San Francisco Sales team at CMG had a new client that was interested in using the services of the CMG Meetings Division to assist with their annual sales meeting in Hawaii.  So off I went to Cupertino to experience the culture shock of my introduction to Apple Computer.

They were dressed in jeans, t-shirts, and shorts; they carried backpacks-not Hartman briefcases; they met in glass-walled conference rooms; all those with name badges numbered under 400 were millionaires including the receptionist and the mail boy; and they rolled out the beer kegs at noon on Fridays as a thank you to all employees for working hard all week.  And most unsettling, they challenged their vendors to play the game their way or don’t come calling.

Believe me, in the corporate world three decades ago, this was NOT the norm! Nor did I easily give up my formal corporate uniform…until they told me I wouldn’t be let in the door if I arrived one more time “all suited up”.

Many had heard of this fledging company that was doing something no one quite understood with computers (and crazy commercials) so I often was asked about them when I returned to Minneapolis.  My comments usually included some description of a west coast CULT – with a mission “to save the world” and if that was not silly enough, they were going to do so  by targeting K-12 kids as they put their “apples” in every school around the nation.   And so they did.

To see the headline “iRead, iWrite, iLearn” in today’s Strib should not have been a surprise.  To revolutionize “publishing space” by reinventing textbooks as they announced their three new products designed to uproot the traditional learning experience deserves a hearty round of applause. I was only surprised that the Star Tribune positioned it as “Apple’s venture into education”-as if they have not done this before!

And this time around, I expect it will be much more than a publishing revolution – the results it drives may well be the impetus needed for all of us to understand that it is time to take the leap and quit teaching to meet the needs of the industrial revolution of the 20th century.  It is time to throw out how schools supported industry and look towards rethinking what are education goals of today and how new knowledge uncovered in the last two decades has changed our understanding of how the brain works and how we learn.   Apply technology; create interactive tools, and engage our students in dialogues.  We’ll be surprised about what they will learn….and what we can learn from them!

 

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