Time dilation, dog years, and our tolerance for rapid change

It’s time to stop using time as an excuse.

I used “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once”  as the Albert Einstein quote in my last blog post and am using if for this one as well.

This quote doesn’t mean we can slow everything down so it doesn’t happen until we’re ready for it to happen.

A fellow educator whom I admire and was in a meeting with recently cited the research about change taking 3 to 5 years to become institutionalized.  Well, I first read that research in 1991 and it is now 2011.  I am skeptical that it still applies and tired of it being used as an excuse.

The world is changing very quickly right now.  The questions shouldn’t be around how to slow this change down or throttle it back like a cellular service provider.  The questions should be how we can take advantage of the rapid pace of change and use it to the advantage our young people.  If we don’t, someone else will.

It struck me recently that my district took seven years to decide on and finish installing ceiling mounted projectors in every classroom.  Seven years.  If you can’t get a techology-based roll out done from start to finish in seven months now you better not call it a roll out!  Just stick to “multiple installations” or some other phrase.

So, why the title?  Well, I would suspect most people have heard that Einstein had a theory of relativity and many people have seen commercials or other depictions of a person traveling around the earth really fast and not aging like a person sitting relatively still (pun intended).  Well, that’s called time dilation.  We cannot continue to believe we can slow down time in schools.  This approach is doing our kids no favors and is giving the public education critics fodder.  Let’s not just keep up, let’s lead the way.  The educators reading this blog are not the ones I am worried about, it’s the ones who do not engage in social media or other means of constant, public learning and public practice.  Use the strategy “each one teach one” today and print out an interesting blog post from me or someone else and hand it to a colleague who doesn’t have a blog roll or an rss feed or a PLN.  Suck them in.  The kids depend on it!

And dog years?  Well, I keep thinking about the seven year roll out of projectors.  The 7:1 ratio made me think of dog years as I thought a human year of aging was 7 dog years was until I found this article in preparation for this post.  Regardless, we can’t do this any more.  We don’t have the time.


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