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The World at Our Fingertips or It's Getting Under Our Fingernails

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Third in a series of 12 - Education Unplugged 101

"The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow."

--Bill Gates

The question The Edge.Org asked in 2010 was, "How is the Internet changing the way you think?" It's a great question and one that we should ask ourselves. The question could be expanded to, "How is the Internet changing the way you live?" or "How is the Internet changing the world?" If the Internet was an individual ... (it's been proven that it might be possible with the Supreme Court 's ruling in 2010) ... then "It" should be on the cover of Time as the most influential individual of the year for the last 15 years. No individual has ever done that before. Its influence has permeated every facet of life in some way or another.

Remember when you would take time for yourself and go to the local bookstore? You'd walk amongst all the resources, (books), check out their URL's (titles), pick one up, flip through the pages smelling the paper and ink, read here and there, put it down, go to the next section, pick up another book and peruse it, put it down and do this again and again until you were nourished or late for the appointment you missed because you were surfing the sections? Now we surf the net, the universal library, bookstore and data bank offering gazillions of stuff to peruse while we're sitting somewhere, almost anywhere, online. The Internet is ours, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week it carries just about everything you could ever hope or imagine you'd need. The infrastructure is being expanded every nanosecond and has a thriving community of people building communities and commerce. And best of all, its free and at your fingertips.

The Internet is a major game changer. It is so successful because it wasn't made to do anything in particular. (It was actually made to connect various military and research networks across the U.S. to each other. In 1995 the last of those restrictions was removed, freeing up the internet for commercial uses.) It is considered by some to be a disruptive technology not only because it has turned everything on its head and given us light speed info access, but because it has already shown its unyielding power to aided in the upheaval of governments as well as bring top secret info to the masses and it's only about 20 years old! As it ages, how much more disruption could possibly be in store? It brought everyone, everywhere into our homes, businesses and schools ready to share just about everything - like it or not.

In the late 1960's early 1970's, the Internet was being birthed. Even the "parents" of the Internet had no idea of its potential. It wasn't until years later when they really began to realize what they had been a part of. Now this 20-something is known and utilized throughout the world. Its arteries run throughout the world and the information pulsing through its veins processes and converts billions of bytes into stories, art, and love.

ANOTHER PIECE OF THE INTERNET:

As an author or an architect in this conversation, we'll want to look at the ways the Internet has, is and will continue to affect every facet of our lives. To author and build a framework for education we need to co-create a global curriculum (talked about further in blog six) to at least include the following:

· With the speed of acquiring information now available with the internet, we need to ask if our tool belts include ample levels of integration and usage skill sets for us to rise to the opportunities and/or challenges the Internet offers.
· With the power of the internet now fully available for political and propaganda uses, the potential for abuse of this magnificent communication network is immense. How can we turn the extreme potential of the internet towards positive developments and education?
· History has shown us that when new technologies have been introduced, humanity has experienced a destabilization in the balance of power. For example, the printing press opened up learning for the masses far more than the church had allowed, or had even been possible. Before the printing press, information was considered knowledge and held close to the vest by the church. Additionally, there was no way for ideas to spread in such a closed society.
When language was introduced, communities gathered together, systems of beliefs were spoken and taught, hunting and gathering was done together, sharing the load through clear duties of belonging to the "club." Before that, the club was something you used to guard others from what you hunted and gathered.
· Freedom or not, that is the question. This is a major concern and has been at the forefront of government controls such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which was pushing to give government the right to censor the Internet. It was soundly defeated and the internet was the tool used that spurred the largest online protest in history. Tens of millions of people who make the Internet what it is defended their freedoms and defended the freedoms for the rest of the tens of billions more people who access the Internet. Political Activism, Sacred Activism and Personal Activism are only some of the changes brought on by the emergence of this incredible tool. What kind of curriculum can be included in education for people to experience such power?

Many governments are fighting to stop the Internet from infiltrating into their countries. Quoting from the article below, "The idea of the Internet has not yet permeated the public's consciousness in North Korea." That in itself is mind blowing.

Here an entire culture has not been properly introduced to the most powerful communication network ever created by people, simply because a government fears what could blossom from simple networking. A government is saying to its people, "What Internet?, What are you talking about? We hold all that is important and interesting and we'll let you know what is important in your lives."

As stated above, similar to the emergence of the book and the printing press, this technology disrupts power and peace of mind. For as long as change is happening, humanity seems to continue to question the usefulness of new technologies. Only the generations following the invention of language, books the printing press and now the Internet can oversee the evolution of these technologies, and integrate the gifts they bring while they lay down their ancestor's concerns about these technologies. The fears of these technologies, "Ending life as we have known it" can dissipate as our understanding replaces fear and we open ourselves up to the evolution it brings to us as a unified humanity begins to unfold. Though all these modes of communication have "ended life as we have known it," they've helped us evolve throughout the ages up to now. The Internet again challenges us with what we will do, as humanity, with such profound ways to communicate throughout the world instantaneously.

We've seen this non-partisan, genderless, "universal citizen" cross all party lines and help topple governments, access top-secret information unseen by the masses, and hold in its vaults, personal information about every citizen who it has been introduced to. No person holds such power at any level, in any government, in any church anywhere in the world.

For those born after the 1960's or so, this technology seems to be grafted into their DNA. With each generation, we see our offspring being more and more fed by the Internet as it becomes the global brain that is making its way into the consciousness of each generation succeeding the previous one. With the human genome only now beginning to be understood, we can't be shocked if science, in its recognition of a complex communication system running through each of us, reveals an identical twin of the Internet running through the "junk DNA" we thought had no purpose.

Welcome to TAOville (formerly know as The Internet)

2013-07-10-TAOvillelogo.jpegWith some of the game changers we explored last week, the Internet becomes one of the game changers offering a vast land of networks. This global network expands the possibilities for an experiential education framework in the 21st century unifying global economies everywhere. With the recognition of this vast network already being in place, we're invited to connect into its existing infrastructures of highways of wireless networks. This fertile land is prime for thoughts of cooperation and partnership between us, our children, their children and their children throughout time and beyond.

"The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow".

Bill Gates' quote at the beginning of this blog, suggests an opportunity for a more personal participation as a member of the global internet village. This network of humanity is changing its name. Like Prince, TAOville formerly known as the internet, gives itself and us a more personal name and relationship in which to refer to but not be limited by. This network of humanity, TAOville, becomes the global town village.

With the simple fact of your current participation online, you have been given a piece of this vast town and have become a citizen in this global village. That was a relatively painless process. Now in acceptance of your piece of this town, TAOville, (formerly known as the Internet) and the fastest growing "town" in the world, you are invited to start creating your home page and "homestead". Co-creating a personalizing vast network of neighbors online congeals the possibilities for an experiential education framework in the 21st century.

Co-creating a global town village where everyone, from around the globe, can meet as fellow citizens in Our town square invites us to get acquainted, get personal and collaborate. As technology continues to grow so does our yearning for home, deep personal relationships and a space we feel nurtured and understood. Let's build that village.

As Mr. Rogers so beautifully asked, "Won't you be my neighbor?" Participate in building the town square for the global village.