There's nothing like a dream to create the future. Utopia today, flesh and blood tomorrow.--Victor Hugo
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.--Helen Keller
These two quotations summarize the main ideas addressed in this paper. To paraphrase Victor Hugo, we are the creators of our future. However, there are forces and factors in our environment today that we do not control, but that are pushing and prodding us to change if we want to be successful. Even though these powerful economic and societal forces are creating different criteria for success in the 21st century, our schools are not making corresponding modifications (e.g., Robinson, 1992). How we act or respond is still up to us. We are the ones that control our responses. We made our past. We have made our present. We will make our future. And if we want to have some control 10 or 15 years from now, we need to make some changes today.
I believe the "daring adventure" Helen Keller spoke of is going to be our common experience over the next 10 to 15 years. The path we are walking is not well marked and difficult to traverse. Unfortunately, we are going to need to travel it at breakneck speed if we are to be successful. And also, unfortunately, some of us are not going to do as well as we would like. I believe we can make some good predictions about the knowledge, attitudes, and skills of people who are more likely to traverse it safely and even improve their personal and socioeconomic conditions in the process. They are the ones who are looking at the trends and making appropriate adjustments in their daily lives.
Thomas Kuhn (1962), in a book titled "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" discussed the importance of a powerful concept: paradigm. He said that scientific paradigms are "accepted examples of actual scientific practice-- examples which include law, theory, application, and instrumentation [meaning measurement instruments and procedures] together that provide models from which spring...