I was in
Technology – going public
It set me thinking. Is technology creating a pendulum swing towards PUBLIC, as opposed to PRIVATE behaviour? Is the thing that marks out the difference between older and younger generations the degree to which they accept public domain behaviour?
Telephony – a public cacophony
Take telephony. It was the domain of private homes or enclosed telephone boxes – those lovely, red soundproof things. We're now bombarded by a cacophony of ringtones and conversations in trains, airports, pubs, restaurants and in the street. People stop walking in front of you as they answer calls. It’s all gone public.
Banking – prefer ATMs to tellers
Take banking. We used to dutifully queue up inside banks to deposit and withdraw money. Now we’d rather queue outside in the street than go into a bank, even if there's a teller available. We prefer the public domain and the machine.
Web – give it up
Older generations are very suspicious about giving out their email addresses and personal data. Youngsters are blasé about this. They recognise that giving up some privacy is part of the deal for receiving free stuff. Social networking is taking your life public.
Are we becoming a more ‘public’ society?
I think so. I see lots of kids in
Loosen and lighten up on learning
What can we learn from this? We baby boomers are essentially a private lot. We squirrel it all away, get the house, grab a pesion and never come out. We love command and control, learning management systems, timetables and courses. We love to lock learners up in classrooms and courses. But we may have to loosen up the structures so that social goals are part of learning and work. This means loosening up on the ‘curse of the course’ and all of that ‘talk and chalk’ stuff, that demands undivided attention at a set time. We need to free courses from the tyranny of time and location. Blends of learning must accept that some of the learning needs to be out there and not in the classroom or course. We have to blend into online knowledge management, social stuff and real work tasks, and see it as something people can do at home or somewhere other than the school, office or training centre.