Wonderment: Is the Age of Wonder Over?

In the post industrial world, is the age of wonder over?  MH900289952The answer to that question is yes and no. The needs of the labor market have changed and the diminishing demand for skilled workers has given way to a growing demand for intellectual capital (Drucker, 2012). The educational system has not yet shifted along with the needs of the global market. We no longer wonder about the answer to trivial questions- Google can fetch the answer for us. In that sense the age of wonder has ended. We don’t wonder, we Google. But the idea that we still wonder lingers behind the change in employee demands- we still need wonder. We need to wonder about the best way to solve problems by thinking creatively, thinking critically, and collaborating to address those issues for employers in the workplace. So how do we get that wonder back in the classroom?MH900197970
Problem based learning is a method where instructional activities are designed to address issues that will be addressed in the workplace or real-world problems (Check out http://pbl-online.org/ for more). They require time management, inquiry, and group participation. In this way, the learning comes through exploring possible answers for a problem… in fact wondering about solutions. As an instructional designer, creating materials that include problem-based assessments and activities becomes an integral part of designing for 21st century learners. Teaching students to solve problems instills the wonderment that is needed in education. Problem based learning also allows a designer and instructor to differentiate to several levels and interests while all students pursue the same knowledge and skills which includes students with disabilities. The truth is most students benefit from the things disabled students benefit from (Barrington & Shimoni, 2010). PBL is a great way to keep wonder alive. MH900289939Web 2.0 is already almost antiquated and the way we use the web has changed forever. The next generation of the internet is well underway in its development while some educators are still trying to grapple with Web 1.0. Those were the days of “Google It” where we wondered a question and Googled the answer. The idea of online collaboration and sharing of information is a mainstay in Web 2.0 where blogs, wikis, social networking sites, and online communication tools are transforming education (Bozarth, 2012). With the move towards online collaboration, instructional designers have to embrace 2.0 tools and also understand what drives learners to effectively use it. Teachers and trainers must engage learners to power their own learning and break with the idea of information gathering as learning in exchange for the application of knowledge using problem based learning. Finally, students have to, in the world of 2.0, learn how to adequately share, mine data, and develop a personal knowledge management system to prepare for the world of Web 3.0 where machines will facilitate understanding and a create a user-intuitive experience (Spivack, 2013).

The Age of Wonder is not over. Twenty-first century learners are going to be tasked with solving real world problems and it’s going to require collaboration, creativity, and analytical thinking. In this new age, we can always wonder a question and Google an answer, but it is what we will do with the information that I wonder about. MH900198302

Want more on Knowledge Mangement?   According to Davenport, “Knowledge management is the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge” (1994). It seems logical that creating collaborative spaces in the cloud to store, compile, and easily access information speaks directly to the idea of KM. Web 2.0 tools like wikis and blogs are great places for individual KM. According to Young, Gyeong & Lee, blogging is a great match for adult learning and gain benefits from learning through them (2011). More importantly, they become a place to store and easily access information directly related to the individual. Check out KM World for more.MH900234641Get in on the conversation.

Do you think the Age of Wonder is over?

Did Google kill the wonder inside people?

The expectations of 21st century classrooms is shifting- Do you see a change in your own institution?

And how can we get everyone on board in killing the worksheet in exchange for PBL?


All Images courtesy of Microsoft

Barrington, G., Shimoni, R. (2010). Meeting the needs of diverse students engaging in e-Learning. Office of Applied Research and Innovation, Bow Valley College.

Bozarth, J. (2012). From traditional instruction to instructional design 2.0 from http://www.astd.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TD-Archive/2012/03/Instruction-Design-2

Davenport, T. H. (1994). Saving IT’s soul: human centered information management. Harvard Business Review, March-April, 72 (2)pp. 119-131.

Drucker, P. (2012). Industrial vs post industrial world. Retrieved from mgmtblog.com/?p=38

Spivack, N. (2013). Web 3.0: The third generation of web is coming, from http://lifeboat.com/ex/web.3.0

Young, P., Gyeong Mi, H., & Lee, R. (2011). Blogging for informal learning: analyzing bloggers’ perceptions using learning perspective. Journal Of Educational Technology & Society, 14(2), 149-160.


One thought on “Wonderment: Is the Age of Wonder Over?

  1. Sarah Dowling says:

    I actually disagree that Google killed the “age of wonder” and I disagree that the “age of wonder” is over. If anything, I think Google excelled the age of wonder! Thinking of what it means to “wonder”… I think of it as a sense of curiousity about a subject. In the past (before the age of Google), I may wonder, but then just disregard the thought because, aside from going to the library and checking out a book, there was no way to learn the answer. Now, it’s as simple as pulling out my iPhone. This constant availability to every bit of information I could ever wonder about has heightened my curiousity – not stifled it! My husband and I actually joke that there’s no longer a need to fight or bicker about things that we disagree on because we can just Google it! This also applies to our students in our classrooms. For example, students in my class will express some “wonder-ings” that they are having related to something that I am teaching them. So, I will tell them to Google it and BAM! There’s their answer! If they knew that they couldn’t find the answer so easily, I don’t think their “wonder-ing” thoughts would be so strong.

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