Tonight I did what I do every other Tuesday night, chat with three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman and Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu. Okay, so that’s not what I really do every Tuesday night, but it is what I did this Tuesday night.

My mom gave me the heads up that Friedman was going to talk about his upcoming book Green: The New Red, White, and Blue at her work today and I jumped at the opportunity. This is the part where I should let you know my mom works for the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and I’m sure being the youngest one in a sea of scientists made me stick out like a sore thumb.

Let me fast forward to the part that is relevant to this blog assignment. When I watched Did You Know 2.0 last class, I felt depressed. All I could think about is the English speaking college graduates from India that are probably better prepared for a 2.0 world than I am. Competing with competent college graduates from around the world is daunting to me, especially since entry level jobs can be outsourced at the drop of a hat.

But tonight, Friedman told a story about a school he visited in India. In the elementary school Friedman visited, he saw children plugged into touch screen computers, listening to the day’s lesson through huge headphones that drowned their little heads. He thought that was the coolest thing because all over the world, children are now given the opportunity to connect, learn and interact with technology that will unlock their minds and plug them into the 21st century. He argued that with billions of minds unlocked, humanity will be able to solve some of society’s greatest problems.

Like Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

After pondering Friedman’s story, I now feel optimistic about my future in the 2.0 world; I just need to think more outside the box. As a society, we need to discover new ways to embrace technology in order to solve the problems that accompany a 2.0 world. And believe me, there are plenty of problems–from ecological to sociological–to go around. To be honest, our parents’ generation hasn’t done such a bang up job solving problems (they just seem to create bigger ones), why don’t we give it a try?

Being literate in 2.0 world is an absolute must. This is a challenge for the United States. How can one of the richest nations have some of the poorest test scores in the world? Students trail behind their international peers in math and science, ill equipped to participate in an international economy. I think the government and schools need to work together to redesign curriculum in order to support a world that will make students comfortable working with the tools to solve the problems in a 2.0 world.

Advertisements