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3

With the rise of energy costs and the increase in telecommuting, we are now looking at very different ways of doing things. Why do we have to leave home to go towork? Or for thatmatter, why do students have to go to school to learn? According to Clayton Christensen, Curtis Johnson, andMichael Horn, theauthorsof DisruptingClass: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, 1 nearly half of students’ classes will be taken online by 2019. As technology becomes more and more portable, the growing web of connectivity will expand the classroom—and the workplace—far and wide. In his influential book The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable 2 Nassim Taleb describes the phenomenon of unpredict-able events that come along to change the course of history. The book takes its name from the black swans of Australia: before the first European explorers arrived there in the seventeenth century, Europeans had never seen black swans. In their experience, em-pirical knowledge pointed to the assumption that all swans were white. When the explorers saw black swans, therefore, a whole new perspective opened up.

Other examples of “black swans” are the attacks of 9/11 and the invention of the Internet. Before these events occurred, no one could have predicted them; after they occurred, the world was a different place. Talebbelieves that the existence of “black swans” underscores how fragile our knowledge really is.

Some of the changes coming to education may be predictable. We may speculate that “green” buildings will replace older, environ-mentally inefficient facilities. Employers—possibly including school districts—may be fined for not going green (or rewarded for efforts to do so). Being entrepreneurial and self-starting will be essential in the environment of telecommuting. The trend of Generation Y already leans toward working independently; Gen Ys do not see themselves as working “for” someone else. In like fashion, they may not see studying “for” the teacher as relevant either. Why not be entrepreneurial about what they learn and when they learn it?

Chapter 1: Ready or Not, Here Comes Change!

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