Education Opinion

Flat and fast

By Katie Hanifin — August 19, 2009 1 min read
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I hope you have read Thomas Freidman’s “The World is Flat”. If not, I am tempted to assign it for homework. Otherwise it might be a little confusing how an American, a Brazilian, and a Spaniard are sitting in an office…

No, it’s not the start to a joke; it’s how things happen in this new global society. And it’s how my experience at Siqur began.

A crash course in globalization…

A businessman in Switzerland partnered with a Spanish company to build a video game simulation to train miners in the Ukraine. The project manager, a Brazilian, got my name from an American, a friend of the Swiss business man, who happens to sit on the advisory board of my grad school in Florida. Got it?

Thomas Friedman told us the world was flat, and I’m telling you it’s also fast. I was contacted in June regarding some instructional design work and in July was on a plane to Spain.

Landing in Madrid, I had to take into consideration my resources. Fortunately, I speak some Spanish. Fortunately, I have an iPhone with an international plan. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find my connecting flight to this city in northern Spain where I’ll be working.

As it turns out, I’m not flying into the city of Oviedo; I’m flying into Asturias – the region in which the city is located. Asturias is a very distinct and proud region of Spain. Upon arriving there I was soon to learn that this is the real Spain – every other region of the country has been conquered. But not Asturias. [Pause here with respect for Pelayo, who fought off the Moorish conquest.] I offer this little bit of history as an interesting juxtaposition to the fact that I have just commuted from Syracuse, New York to Oviedo, Spain to work on a video game. And yet the first thing I learn is something that happened a whole bunch of centuries ago.

So I’m not just welcomed to the real Spain, but the real world. I feel like I know nothing at all. As a teacher, I have to wonder how well we are accommodating this strange international collision course into our schools. This is how the world works now – I get an email, get on a plane, work with a bunch of people from all over the world. What class is that?

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