This week’s Business Week magazine has a cover story on the “The Future of Work” which has some fodder to add to the discussion. The thesis is:

The rapid growth of broader, richer channels of communication–including virtual worlds–is transforming what it means to be “at work.”

Here are a couple more outtakes:

“What’s more, the modern workplace no longer resembles the factory assembly line but rather the design studio, where the core values are collaboration and innovation, not mindless repetition.”

And,

The percentage of 25- 29-year-olds with at least a bachelor’s degree has actually fallen during this decade. This raises the real possibility that this generation of young Americans may actually be less educated than the previous one, creating a growing gap between the kinds of people companies need and the workers who are actually available.

Free agency looks to be on the rise:

Complicating matters is the fact that the very idea of a company is shifting away from a single outfit with full-time employees and a recognizable hierarchy. It is something much more fluid, with a classic corporation at the center of an ever-shifting network of suppliers and outsourcers, some of whom only join the team for the duration of a single project.

And collabortive capability is becoming more and more important:

The hard part for multinationals is getting people to work well together, especially given that day-and-night collaboration across the globe is growing…Nokia is careful to select people who have a collaborative mindset…Accenture, which spent $700 million on education last year, says its 38,000 consultants and most of its service workers take course on collaborating with offshore colleagues.

That makes me think (again) of the quote by Tom Carroll about good teaching being a collective/collaborative effort. I wonder how many teachers are getting ready for the new school year by developing a deeply collaborative curriculum, one in which they model for their students not just connections with other teacher/learners but co-creation of knowledge, in whatever forms that takes. I wonder how many of them are being supported in that effort. We have the capability to create these types of environments; what we need is to provide more and more opportunities for teachers to connect and learn with other educators and professionals from around the globe.

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