Friday, August 29, 2008

Big and Enduring Ideas

When I launched this online magazine in March, 2008 I wrote about my ideas on learning, education, complexity, and the future. (go back to March in the Table of Contents on the left).

Lately I've been mainly reporting things I think are interesting about design education in K-12 schools but the motivation for teaching design in schools still goes back to those big ideas upon which all of this is based. Designers are the ones who will make the future meet its potential and the designers of the future are in our schools today.

There have been four major resources I've relied upon over the couple of decades I've been thinking about this - the TED conference, Wired magazine, books published by John Brockman, and Ray Kurzweil's "The Singularity is Near".

I went to the TED conference when Richard Saul Wurman (shown fourth) was still running it. The registration fee went from $3000 to $6000 so I love that the presentations are available online for free now at www.ted.com. Wurman started a tradition of collecting the greatest minds in the world and letting them talk for only about 15 minutes so that questions and conversations could take place between sessions.

I began reading Wired magazine starting back when Kevin Kelly (far left) was the editor. I noticed that Wired in many ways was a print version of the TED conference. In the magazine and in books he wrote, Kelly presented the people, ideas and events that are shaping the world.

And I also read lots of books published under the management of John Brockman (second from left), the publishing agent who encouraged and helped the Digerati and the Third Culture geniuses write and publish their ideas about the universe, genetics, robotics, and complex systems in language that could be understood by general readers. Check out his site at http://www.edge.org/

Ray Kurzweil (third from left) wrote an important book called "The Singularity is Near" that shows how much of the amazing stuff presented in all these venues will become a reality by the year 2040. Then he wrote another book called "The Fantastic Voyage" to help us all live long enough to see it happen. Elementary students today will be about 40 years old when the world will be transformed in the ways these men are predicting.

These four men and, in the case of Kelly and Wurman, their successors at the TED conference and Wired magazine are helping us all find our way in the world of the 21st century.

Click on the heading above to hear Kevin Kelly talk about why all of this is important.

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