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1. The Culture of Games

Between signs for Cajun food and the university’s “Ragin’ Cajun” mascot sits a 50-foot-tall, luminescent, rainbow-colored egg attached to a modern building. The $27 million, 70,000 square foot facility called LITE (Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise) signals the birth of something altogether new in the Lafayette landscape. This is one of the world’s most sophisticated public virtual exploration facilities, and though it seems like an anomaly, it’s perfectly fitting for it to be in this region, nestled within a culture that [...]

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2. Inside the “Virtual Cave”

All week, while 3D Squared’s Digital Workforce Intensive was underway, LITE buzzed with activity. While the students collaborated, we took a tour of LITE. “The only place I’ve seen like this is inside a top secret underground military bunker,” said a self-described military contractor who joined us. “There are only about four others in the country. And they’re only accessible to the military.” The tour wound through rooms of different sizes, each used for different types of full immersion training. [...]

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3. Immersive Training Spaces

  Video: NOAA demonstrates its virtual world training environment. Imagine the job interview to be the person who travels on an aircraft through hurricane conditions to gather weather information–or being on a trawler on treacherous seas gathering data vital to understanding and protecting, the oceans? It’s the job of The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to find these people and train them. The cost and duration of training in the physical world is a serious challenge, so NOAA has been exploring [...]

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4. Worlds Disappearing

Video: Game designer Jane McGonigal speaks at TED 2010. Reality is broken, she says. Can games fix it? If so, is gamification really the path to get there? After working all week at LITE , the big day finally arrived for the young collaborative game design teams. At the beginning of the week, many of the participants expressed terror at the thought of speaking publicly to professionals flown in to critique their work. Each team would take the stage one at [...]

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5. Hybrid Education

  Isaac Asimov: “Science and Creativity in Education” When teacher F. Margret Atkinson first heard about the Digital Workforce Initiative at LITE, she immediately felt she was getting involved with a powerful new approach to taking creativity and technology to a new level with her students. While her students worked together in groups at LITE, she discussed their various needs, the span in their ages, ability levels, expectations, socioeconomic and cultural categories. Atkinson’s travel schedule between schools that share her [...]

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6. A Modern Classroom

Video: Charles Leadbetter speaks at TED about education transformation. The divide created by unequal access to technology is crippling. Some schools and districts are struggling to acquire and use technology while others, such as schools participating in Iowa’s emerging 1:1 program are working together to form a collective mission and figure out the value in the visionary fledgling program. Other schools are using specific types of equipment such as iPads to meet this need, and some educators are learning from robots [...]

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7. Learning from Robots

  Video: Heather Knight speaks at TEDxWomen about the future of robots. Robots are becoming more ubiquitous in society. They fight wars, beat humans on game shows and even entertain us, as roboticist Heather Knight shows. Can some subjects be better and more effectively taught by robots instead of human teachers? “The most advanced models,” The New York Times reported in, “Students, Meet Your New Teacher, Mr. Robot,” by Benedict Carey and John Markoff, “are fully autonomous, guided by artificial [...]

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8. Collapsing Time and Distance

    Video: Pesident and Chief Executive Officer of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) Susan Patrick describes why online distance learning is important. “This is a new global era of needing to provide a world-class education for all students,” said Patrick, adding that forty percent of American high schools, particularly those afflicted by poverty, offer no advanced placement classes. Virtual education, practiced now in 32 states, is the only way many students will have access to classes that can [...]

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9. Creating Avatars

An avatar can be as simple as the profile picture you post on Twitter to show the world your face, or it can be created in three dimensions in a virtual environment, fully customized from the skin and size to hair, eyes and clothes. In some virtual environments, participants have full control over the appearance of their avatars, right down to body shape, color and size, the shape and placement of facial features, hair style, clothing, posture, gestures and even [...]

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10. A New Way to See

  In addition to connecting remote students to a single learning experience and creating richly textured environments for exploring complex subject matter, many educators have started looking at virtual environments as a way to shed light on unthinkably dark periods of humanity. A virtual version of Anne Frank’s experience is being designed by Andrew Wheelock, a technology coordinator in the Jamestown, New York school district, because he believes that students are more likely to engage with the learning experience in [...]

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11. Social Media

The advent of social media, which connects educators across their own states and around the world, has helped the education transformation movement gain momentum. From Facebook to Ning, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Symbaloo, Second Life and so on, educators are constantly faced with a stream of new platforms and the necessity to experiment with the value, versus the novelty, of participation. While Twitter is most often used for short updates of less than 140 characters, it is also vibrantly used to [...]

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12. Media Trend

The lack of meaningful work for millions of people, including young people just entering the workforce, has a widespread negative impact on society, ultimately touching everyone. A major media trend has been focused on twenty-somethings who can’t find jobs. With 37 percent of 18-29 year olds unemployed this issue is requires sustained attention. Such articles, however, often fail completely to mention the skilled labor shortage or any solutions, including entrepreneurship, innovation and collaboration of any kind. GOOD magazine published an [...]

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13. Flip Thinking

  The shift in education is a great opportunity for educators to experiment with low cost, high impact techniques like “flip thinking.” The Telegraph published a piece by Daniel Pink about educator Karl Fisch, a 20-year veteran of Arapahoe High School, located south of Denver, Colorado. For the past 14 years, the one-time math teacher has been the school’s technology coordinator. A round of budget cuts forced him to take on extra duties. A few weeks before the article was [...]

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14. The Cloud

One element in the transforming landscape of education and work that will continue to grow in overlapping importance is “the cloud,” which is becoming the main metaphor, literally and figuratively, for the future–the collective ability to access data and to gain useful information from it. The biggest change for both workers and companies, says Giga Om’s Mathew Ingram is a move toward what we call “the human cloud.” The human cloud is shorthand for how the web has disrupted the [...]

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15. Learning Experiments

Video: The Khan Academy, which offers online courses via YouTube. German entrepreneur Bjoern Lasse Herrmann is the creator of Supercool School (LINK), an online teaching platform where anyone can set up a school. Supercool School is a platform that has the potential to change education globally, because anyone can offer a class or register to take a class. Some are free while others can charge fees, depending on the way each school is run. The plan is to give people [...]

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16. Finding Epic Meaning

The power of games to capture the imagination was once reserved for recess–a playful escape from the grind of a day neatly segmented into subjects, one after the next, separated with surgical precision by mechanical sound of the bell. Little crossover occurred between them. Algebra was distinct from art. Music and science would not have overlapped. Today, in an increasingly fluid hybrid environment, with greater focus on the design of layered experiences, subjects seep into one another. While students are [...]

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17. Focus on STEM

President and Executive Director of the National Institute of Aerospace, Robert Lindberg, himself both a scientist and an engineer, explains the difference between the Scientific Method and the Engineering Design Process. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM, are the acknowledged focal point of the skill set required for the 21st century. President Obama has identified STEM education as (In President Obama’s National Educational Technology Plan 2010, “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology,”): “the key to America’s [...]

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18. Charter Schools

Charter schools operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. Sometimes that liberty translates into failure, and sometimes it’s exploited by wealthy individuals and groups, but sometimes charter schools can move forward quickly and successfully into new paradigms. Limited only by the imagination and ability to deliver, charter schools represent a viable avenue of development for the future of education. The charter establishing each such school is a performance contract that details the school’s [...]

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19. Quest to Learn

Video: Katie Salen discusses Quest 2 Learn in a six part series on Big Think. Katie Salen recognizes that play is a profound part of the human experience. Salen is a game designer, interactive designer, animator, and design educator. She is the co-author of “Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals,” a textbook on game design, as well as the “Game Design Reader.” She writes extensively on game design, design education, and game culture. In 2009 she founded the first ever [...]

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20. Creativity & Agility

  Video: IBM’s Dan Prieto discusses findings from the 2010 IBM CEO Study. According to a major IBM survey of more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, chief executives believe that—more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision—successfully navigating an increasingly complex world will require creativity and agility. Less than half of global CEOs interviewed believe that their enterprises are adequately prepared to handle a highly volatile, increasingly complex business environment. CEOs are [...]

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21. Empathy & Vision

Video: The UK’s RSA Animate illustrates The Empathic Civilization. ManpowerGroup has long been focused on the relationship between education and work, with emphasis on the development of intellectual curiosity and empathy as the core values required for success. When it comes to navigating the changing world of work, Fortune 100 company ManpowerGroup, has been a global leader for six decades and continues to expand its work in over 80 global labor markets with a focus on creative use of technology [...]

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22. The Future of Work

As education shifts, it needs to move in the direction of creating relevant work skills. The world of work has already been significantly transformed by the growing need to collaborate and by the many technologies that promote teamwork. The timing is good, because the world is getting more unpredictable and the stabilizing effect of a connected workforce is a necessity. The same way the Gulf Coast oil spill illuminated the need for powerful, low cost virtual simulation, exploration and training, [...]

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23. Beating the Talent Mismatch

We are at the beginning of a long-term cultural and economic transformation. Organizations must adapt to this new paradigm by cultivating dynamic managers who have an understanding that they may not understand the tools and skills their employees bring to the workplace but must still work to amplify the individual and group talents. The same is true of the modern educator. Transparency and a fundamental understanding of the core impacts of social networks will assist in helping organizations evolve with [...]

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24. Workflow

While immersion in a thriving hybrid reality work environment requires a certain amount of letting go, it also enables managers to become conductors of a collaborative orchestra instead of simply keeping track of workers who have taken on the responsibility of managing their own work schedules. Virtual work isn’t about working more or less hours, but rather working with more focus during customized hours to make space for balance between work and life. In a streamlined virtual work environment, evidence [...]

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25. Creating Jobs

On the UK’s twenty-pound note there’s a picture of Adam Smith’s profile overlooking workers in a factory and the words, “The division of labour in pin manufacturing and the great increase in the quantity of work that results.” A new paradigm for the future of work has yet to achieve mass adoption. In that context, virtual work is still a nascent alternative approach. It will take a while before society views it with the same emblematic pride as evidence of [...]

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26. Here I Stand

Erica Goldson, the top student at Coxsackie-Athens High School, south of Albany, New York, gave a speech, “Here I Stand,” at her graduation ceremony on June 25, 2010. “There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, “If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years . .” The student then said, “But [...]

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27. The Economic Machine

Video: IBM’s Centennial of Achievements On September 13, 1931, The New York Times, founded in 1851, celebrated 80 years in business by challenging the day’s visionaries to look 80 years ahead and make predictions about 2011. Making his statement to the publication just two years after the stock market crash, entrepreneur Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, had this to say: “We shall go over our economic machine and redesign it, not for the purpose of making something [...]

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28. Grants

Looking to make a change in education, maximize existing technology or create something new? The website STEMgrants.com is a new website dedicated to summarizing grant opportunities, “for K-12, educational non-profits, and universities” with information about grants ranging from government opportunities such as the National Science Foundation to smaller, local foundations: STEMgrants.com. Some ongoing opportunities as of Spring 2011 include: Google’s STEM competition at the “Google Science Fair“. The U.S. Department of Education aggregates a list of grant opportunities at the [...]

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29. Coastal Roots

  F. Margret Atkinson, a teacher at the Zachary Community Schools near Lafayette, Louisiana, emailed us in the middle of our research with an invitation to check out a technology bridge project she was working on with her students called “Coastal Roots.” “Coastal Roots affords the student an opportunity to develop a sense of self-efficacy and the real-world skills of measuring and recording data, organizing resources, and executing plans, to communicate with experts and learn from professionals in a specific [...]

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30. A New Start in Iowa

Already, three days into his job as the State Director of Education in Iowa, Jason Glass was looking torward the future. “I’m a risk-taker,” he says, “not afraid to fail.” Before taking the post in Iowa, Glass served as the Senior Director of Human Capital Strategy at Battelle for Kids providing guidance on performance based compensation approaches for educators. Tennessee and Ohio won funds from Race to the Top to explore this collaborative system, which raises base pay for teachers [...]

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31. You Are an Educator

1) Who and where are you? Please comment in the guestbook below. Feel free to share links to relevant projects in the comments section. 2) Click here to see what students have to say. 3) Are you familiar with the difference between the Scientific Method and the Engineering Design Process? Are your students? 4) You believe that games can be used to tackle serious problems in society (link to louisiana section) and you want to know how to implement such [...]

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32. You Are a Student

Your future largely depends on the ability of educators to evolve quickly enough to teach you what you need to know. We need your help for this mission. There’s a section in this project for educators. In that section educators are asked to link to this section to see what students have to say. If you have something to say, please comment below. You can choose to answer one of the questions below or comment on whatever moves you. 1) [...]

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33. Contact Us

This project was directed by Rita J. King and Joshua Fouts, who work with an extensive network of experts on all aspects of the transformation of education and the future of work. Put these findings into practice The co-directors of this project, Rita J. King and Joshua Fouts, offer consulting sessions for practitioners of the new global culture and economy at all levels. Whether you need to learn how to use Twitter, build a complex simulation environment or create an [...]