June 14, 2024

I Still Don’t Like "The World is Flat!"

In my new column, I once again question educator’s awestruck devotion to The World Is Flat and paralyzing fear of globalization. Here are a couple of excerpts from the new column.

I continue to meet colleagues who apologize for not having found time to read Thomas Friedman’s book, The World is Flat. They long to read what they’ve been led to believe is the instruction manual for 21st-century living. I await the book’s children’s edition and the Saturday morning cartoon in which a ragtag bunch of American AP students are outsourced to India and are forced to use Microsoft Vista.

I have not moderated my 2005 appraisal that The World Is Flat is chock-full of sloppy facts, simplistic reasoning and dopey rhymes. My greatest concern is that school leaders are much more apt to quote from books written by men who have never run a business than from those written by educational innovators. An administrator’s quest for a quick fix and misplaced faith in the advice of charlatans is much more alarming than Mr. Friedman’s ignorance of technology, education or policy. He just wrote a book. We bought it.

Read the entire column, Lessons You Can’t Learn in a Book.

Discuss it here!

One thought on “I Still Don’t Like "The World is Flat!"

  1. I too find the underlying concept insufficient and misleading. My own theory is that what we now really have is two worlds:
    World one which is effectively smaller, indeed transparent where we are connected to each other almost instantly – distance is now transparent. Who cares where you are – we can still communicate.
    World Two is much larger and is best exemplified by the Internet and especially Open Source which I view as a new organizational structure – not the pyramid which a colleague of mine calls BAH (Bureaucratic Administrative Hierarchy) but a geodesic sphere model that I call FUN (Friendly Unstructured Network)
    It allows us to develop our quest for community and learning like no other.

    Thank goodness we have teachers who think outside the pyramid!

    A flat world just leaves me . . . flat! Long live the spheres!

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