Tonight in the Microcomputer Applications course I am teaching, we listened to Bob Sprankle’s podcast from July 13th, 2005, which features a speech made by former Maine Governor Angus King. We googled for a photo of Angus King and had that onscreen during the podcast– it was like he was a guest speaker in our classroom tonight!

I, like Angus King, highly recommend the book “The World is Flat: by Thomas Friedman.”

One of the main questions/responses we had to the podcast was, “How can we get teachers and administrators to CHANGE?” What a vital educational question. (View our brainstormed responses as an Inspiration graphic, or read our ongoing discussions about this in Moodle.) Here are the notes I took from the podcast…

Notes about Bob Sprankle Podcast / Angus King
What is 1:1 (define it)
MLTI: a big idea
– knew it was a big change 5 years ago
– now thinks it is a necessary change
Mao kept the Chinese off the world playing field for 50 years
– we didn’t have to cope with China, that is no longer the case
– India was socialist, same situation
10 flatteners that Friedman talks about
Think of us as a successful football team, winning all our football games for 50 years without any good competiton
– what happens to that team
– now there are new teams on the field that are HUNGRY
every job in the US that can be digitized or done with labor is vulnerable
– radiology: they are reading xrays at night in India
– call centers
They are teaching Indian call center employees how to speak with Midwestern accents
– you don’t have to be from the
The only jobs not subject to being exported are jobs where you touch the customer physically or work on something you own (chiropractors and plumbers)
– but now people are going to India and having a hip transplant for 1/10th the cost
We are now outsourcing fast food jobs like McDonalds
The only hope is education, the only chance
– we are NOT going to compete on wages
– there are 3 billion people in India and China
– Every job in the US could move to China and they would still have a labor surplus
Jobs can move overseas much faster today
– we lost shoe jobs over about 35 years in Maine
– we can lose call center jobs in 3 years
Answer is Education and Technology
The only things Americans have in the long run is innovation
– and now that comes increasingly from technology
Remember from Driver’s Ed: stop distance for braking with speed
– how far your headlights illuminate
– if you are going beyond a certain speed, there is a point where your headlights just illuminate 200 feed but your stop distance is 220 feet
– That means there is no way you can stop in time to avoid hitting a wall
Big deal for Maine: it is EVERY kid, poor, rich, urban, rural—everyone!
– that is very important
– we need to hold onto that
– we are giving kids a tool many of them would not have had otherwise
– we are going to unlock talent that doesn’t even know it is there!
– We have got to keep it in the hands of these kids
– Can’t turn it into something that is just for wealthy districts, or just in the districts who have superintendents with the vision
I (Angus King) is not in charge anymore, I cannot carry this thing any more
– one of the problems with this project was that it was too closely identified with me (Angus King)
– This gave the project policitical baggage
– It must have community champions
– Make legislators go to the classroom and SEE it, that is the best argument we can make
– You can influence the legislature
– The Maine legislature is SO accessible!
– 5 letters to a Maine legislator is a tidal wave in Maine!
– They listen to STORIES! (stories of the kids you have worked with)
– Stories are what moves people
We will get together at the nursing home and laugh about this “quaint debate” we had in Maine about whether or not every student should have a digital device
I have 2 endings tonight
This is urgently about the future of our children
– we have got to equip them with the tools and the skills to compete in the flat world
– As Friedman says, if we don’t drastically upgrade the skills of American children right now, all they are going to have are lousy jobs
– What are you going to say when your kids ask you, “What did you do when the earth flattened, Daddy?”
Most Americans are asleep, and don’t have any idea what is coming at them.
You have to be the advocates, the champions here
My favorite 2 philosophers: Charles Darwin and Wayne Gretsky
– survival of the fittest: used to think that meant the biggest, the strongest
– no, in origin of the species, when Darwin defines the fittest “organizations, individuals or organisms most adaptable to change”
– we are living the most accelerated period of human change in history
– if we are not adaptable, look at what happened to the DoDo
Wayne Gretsky: greatest player in the history of the NHL
– had uncanny knack for scoring goals
– not the biggest or the fasted
– asked how he did it, great Canadian answer
– Canadian: is an unarmed North American with health insurance
– “I skate to where the puck is going to be. Everyone else skates to where it is.”
If we can skate to where the puck is going to be, we are going to win
– if we go where it is, we are going to get slammed into the boards by 3 billion Chinese
– Friend of his who now says: “do your homework, there are billions of Chinese who want your job”
37,000 people graduated with Engineering degrees in the US
270,000 in India

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