How does globalization change the needs and demands on US, K12, higher education and corporate learning environments?
As I began to mention in my previous blog entry, globalization and Friedman's "flattening" of the world is causing Americans to rethink the notion of job security. Globalization, the Internet, and democratization has opened the market for middle-class jobs to the world. Increasingly, jobs that can be defined as processes and are not gepgrahpically anchored are moved to countries that have skilled workers who are hungry for work. Where does this leave the American workforce? We need to identify those jobs and skills that will give Americans an edge. Much of the work that is considered anchored is service industry work--food service, auto repair, medicine--but the service industry depends on industries that design and manufacture products and other not-so-anchored industries. Our current educational systems serve job markets for anchored service industries reaonably well, but we need to carefully look at the other jobs--the middle-class jobs that are rapidly disappearing. It is possible to replace the jobs lost to engineers, programmers, and customer service representatives in India, but it requires that we rethink our core educational values. We need to find the time and resources to foster creativity and adaptability among learners. We need learners to synthesize and invent. We can't abandon the standards, but we could do a better job of creating authentic learning experiences that will better prepare students to enter the global workforce.