Adapt or die


The above picture was taken in the foyer of the BBC three years ago. It was put there to coincide with their Creative Futures Project, their attempt to keep themselves relevant in the Digital Age. The BBC’s Director General  asserted that;

if the corporation is to prosper in years to come, it must connect with the audiences of the future as well as those it already serves.

Hmmm…..think I’ve heard that same thing mentioned in relation to education in recent times.

Tom Coates wrote a great post in reaction to this picture (and the BBC announcement) called, ‘Is the pace of change really such a shock?In it he asserted that media organisations (and we, the public) really shouldn’t be surprised at the pace of change, because it’s been creeping up on us for years now;

There’s nothing rapid about this transition at all. It’s been happening in the background for fifteen years. So let me rephrase it in ways that I understand. Shock revelation! A new set of technologies has started to displace older technologies and will continue to do so at a fairly slow rate over the next ten to thirty years! I’m completely bored of this rhetoric of endless insane change at a ludicrous rate, and cannot actually believe that people are taking it seriously. We’ve had iPods and digital media players for what – five years now? We’ve had Tivo for a similar amount of time, computers that can play DVDs for longer, music and video held in digital form since the eighties, an internet that members of the public have been building and creating upon for almost fifteen years. TV only got colour forty odd years ago, but somehow we’re expected to think that it’s built up a tradition and way of operating that’s unable to deal with technological shifts that happen over decades!? This is too fast for TV!? That’s ridiculous! This isn’t traditional media versus a rebellious newcomer, this is a fairly reasonable and incremental technology change that anyone involved in it could have seen coming from miles away.

I’ve been liberal with my lifting of content from his post, but it’s because I think Tom made some good points (three years ago!!).  It reminds me of the post I wrote recently about deleting the VHS collection. A comment on that post remarked how brave that was. Brave?  Maybe. In my mind, it is common sense to move us forward, even it it does bring with it a level of discomfort.

There is so much in Tom’s post that is relevant to both media organsations and the work we do in education today. Hard to believe it was written three years ago. It could have been written yesterday. He made a salient point we can all take heed of;

These changes are happening, they’re definitely happening, but they’re happening at a reasonable, comprehendible pace. There are opportunities, of course, and you have to be fast to be the first mover, but you don’t die if you’re not the first mover – you only die if you don’t adapt.

“You only die if you don’t adapt”. In my mind, technology will never replace a good teacher, but good teachers need to understand how to use technology well to support good teaching.  For many, it’s time to start the process of adaptation.

3 Replies to “Adapt or die”

  1. Some of us have ‘adapt or die’ as a mantra which propels our thinking and teaching behaviours. We’re shocked only by the fact that others are shocked about the rate of change. What I’m worried about is the mortality rate in schools which refuse to adapt. Thanks for the post.

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