Every once in a while the debate on written history emerges through school textbook selection, a controversial act of legislation, or by a historic figure defending their legacy long into what should otherwise be a comfortable retirement. Even in the age of Social Media, the tenet holds fast; the winners of the war write the history.
Enter Social Media.
Computer enabled society has a way of flipping ideas over on their head. For example; if the winners of the war tell the history, then the inverse must be true. Those writing history are the ones that win wars. As traditional news media gasps under the weight of a millions of bloggers, so goes one of the most prominent fortunes of war – the ability to define a culture. The history still gets written.
“Extra Virtual” Education
Education, like traditional media before it, is encountering their nemesis in the Internet. The content that kids get on the internet is superior in richness, diversity, and relevance than textbooks. No longer can school administrators select the material that students must learn. If they don’t agree with the way history is written, they can easily find an alternate history. They can live in “extra virtual” space – that is, outside the virtual world and inside a chosen reality. People discover their own culture. The history still gets written.
Ultimately our new historians need to enter the workforce to decide what to innovate, what to produce, and what to be passionate about. Where will they find perspective?
The study of history is essential to the three ultimate purposes of education in a free society: to prepare individuals for (1) active citizenship, to safeguard liberty and justice; (2) a career of work, to sustain life; and (3) the private pursuit of happiness, or personal fulfillment.
Many conclusions are based on a set of assumptions. The more elaborate the assumptions the more risk there is at arriving at the wrong conclusion. However, when two opinions are built on the same assumptions and yet their conclusions differ, that difference is a very valuable set of data because it now defines a range of possible outcomes. As such, the inverse must also be true; there are many possible ways to achieve a solution within the range of desireable outcomes. This is the domain of the innovation economy.
The True Value of Education
The next economic paradigm will be characterized by many history tellers multiplied by the number of ways to attain the goals of education in a free society; including, but not limited to active citizenship, safeguarding liberty and justice, sustaining life in a joyful career, and the pursuit of happiness and personal fulfillment.
There is only one way to travel a single known path. However, from the ability to compare alternate histories, the purpose of education is greatly expanded and the value of education is multiplied many times over. The teacher will become the ultimate entrepreneur.