• Jennifer Smith

Look Around, Our World is Changing

Photo Credit: Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Within the past 18 months, our world has changed dramatically. We have all had to pivot or redesign an aspect of our lifestyle. Watching news clips and reading articles leads me to believe so much of this change is here to stay, and we are on a path of rapid acceleration for even more change.

What has changed? Among the obvious, our reliance on delivery services like Amazon. We want our products delivered to our door and fast. Of course, we had this option pre-pandemic, yet doing so became a necessity during our lockdowns. And, quick delivery is not something we are going to be willing to give up. While we all relish returning to the world, including grocery stores, we also want the choice of using fast delivery services instead. Why would we choose to go back?

Who would have imagined to-go cocktails would be a thing? Ever, in your wildest imagination did you think you would be able to get a to-go cocktail? Did you think it would ever be a successful venture for a restaurant to offer? Did you ever think local officials would permit it?! Yet, in many areas, to-go cocktails are here to stay. A big hit during the pandemic, many restaurants are planning to continue the option as permitted by local ordinances.

Did you like visiting your physicians via screen? Pre-pandemic, telemedicine was hit or miss. Most of us traveled to see our doctor in-person. After all, we likely thought, how could you diagnose my strep throat via computer? And yet, now we continue to use telemedicine even though pandemic protocols allow us in the offices. I had to set up voice therapy for a vocal chord disorder and originally believed it would be much more effective for me to travel to the office for an appointment. Yet, when I thought about it, I realized a telemedicine visit would not interrupt my day in the way traveling to an appointment would, and I scheduled the visit via telemedicine. This change, too, will stay with us.

After spending months working from home, many of America’s workers have decided such an option is preferable over traveling to offices each day. People want to avoid the stress of traffic, costs of driving, and unnecessary time drains of being in-person. If we managed our jobs for months without being in-person, why can we not continue working from home? Shifting to a work-at-home society will radically alter how our society functions.

AI has taken drastic leaps forward during the past year. Solutions have been designed to assist the workload of healthcare workers, diagnose covid-19, and treat patients. The benefit of using AI technology to solve society’s challenges is becoming more and more evident.

Businesses are changing, innovating, and rethinking what they offer. Leaders are more willing to take risks as they see how the public has reacted to all of the changes during the pandemic.

Where is the innovation and risk-taking in education? We are tasked with preparing students for a new society. We have never known what the future will bring, but with increasing technological advances and societal change, uncertainty has become certain. Teaching students to imagine, create, and innovate must be our top priority. Can schools meet the challenge?

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