I'm beginning to wonder if the Did You Know? presentation has perhaps gone just a little bit viral. As many of you know, I posted it at the beginning of the school year and it got picked up by various educator blogs in August and September. But in the last few days I'm suddenly getting a whole bunch of emails asking about it, and many of those are from non-educators (a minister, the leader of a political action committee, a retired Naval officer to name a few). I even received a phone call this morning from London (as in England) - the assistant to a CEO of an executive search company.
I'm pretty sure it's not my original presentation, though, I think it's the version that Scott McLeod created that removed the first few slides that were specific to my school (and also improved the look a little bit). Scott says that he's had quite a few contacts regarding this as well. I asked some of the folks that emailed me where they had run across the presentation, and the responses I've received back so far indicate via email. It looks like there might be at least two emails floating around, one with "Did You Know" in the title and one with "Shift Happens" in the title, both of which just contain a link to the Windows Media version that Scott created. If anyone reading this has received an email like that, I'd love to know so we can try to figure out where this is coming from. (Also, if you're stumbling upon this post because of that email, you might be interested in two related presentations - What If? and 2020 Vision.)
Now, I'm not sure it's really "viral" at this point, maybe more like the sniffles, but it's still interesting to observe. Because I posted it in an easily downloadable form, without any kind of tracking statistics, and because it's been remixed and reposted so many places, I really have no idea how many times it's been viewed. But I know it was shown at a whole lot of faculty meetings (K-16), and quite a few conferences, and some Chamber of Commerce's. And apparently now there are emails going around to who knows how many people. So I'm going to estimate that the number of people who've seen it has easily passed the 100,000 mark. Please note that I have nothing to back that up with, just a semi-educated guess - feel free to laugh. (Note to my staff: yes, this will make my already healthy ego even larger. Hard to believe, I know.)
To tie this back to one of the major themes of this blog, it's a different world out there. A world where anyone's ideas can quickly spread if they happen to strike a chord. Where you don't necessarily have to have a large company or a huge public relations effort to make an impact (although that still doesn't hurt). And we need to be preparing our students to participate in such a world, to understand both the positive and the negative sides of that. To help them learn how to live and work in a rapidly changing world, where a fairly simple PowerPoint presentation that I almost didn't even show to my staff has now been seen worldwide.
This is just one of the reasons that I believe our schools need to change. They need to change to reflect this new world, this flatter world, this information-abundant, globally connected, rapidly changing, technology super-charged world that they are going to spend the rest of their lives in. Maybe, just maybe, we need to figure out how to make learning viral.