A New Year – And It’s A New World!

Six years ago in December, I wrote an article for this site titled “A New Year Means a New Word.”  The word I came up with at the time was “Systemicity.”  It described the actions of all things working together as system, much in the same way that “synchronicity” described how things happen at the same time…but not necessary within a system.  “Systemicity” was already a word, making it’s way into the language around 2003, and defined as “Acting systemically.”

So I came up with “digigogy,” which referred to how we learn with technology since technology is changing the way our brains are formed.  It’s not just pedagogy describing how children learned, which was different from andragogy, which describes how adults learn.  It was the interaction of person and technology.

Three years later, I discovered, through the evolution and “learning” of the Internet, the term was coined in 2008, 6 years before the article I authored.  The search for another new word ensued, and I came up with “stratuptive,” which was a combination of “strategic” and “disruptive.”  Disruption is how new thinking and new actions come to light.  In other words, we’re forced out of our comfort zones, grooves, and patterns of behavior by something that disrupts those constructs – an emergency phone call, a natural disaster, a technology failure – anything that either takes precedence over what we’re currently doing, even if it’s an important priority, or something that goes away and “disrupts” our world.  To enable a “strategic” disruption relies on a planned disruption and appropriate timing.  Technology folks know the importance of it, since launching an update to a software program is usually done in the wee hours of the morning when there are very few, if any, users that could be impacted by the change.

I ended the article by saying, “We’ll see what happens in three years.”

And if 2020 hasn’t been the most disruptive year in our known history, then perhaps you’ve been enjoying life on a deserted island.

It’s not time to talk about a new word, but a new world.  What do we do about our new reality, especially in terms of education, since, truthfully, there will be no going back “to normal.”  And make no mistake, this “new normal” will soon become “the normal.”

While schools grapple with short-term solutions to deal with what’s immediately before them regarding the launch of the 20-21 school year, let’s look about what we can do to move forward.

First, we need to do three things:

  • Mourn the loss of the old reality
  • Change to adapt, or perish
  • Learn these five things:
    • The real world is hard
    • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
    • We are all imperfect
    • We all need each other’s talents, gifts and strengths
    • We are guaranteed nothing (except for two things…and we all know what they are).

Second, there will be three types of learning environments:

  • On site
  • On line
  • “On target” (what I’m calling a hybrid model, where schools can aim to serve their primary market more effectively, creating new and previously untried opportunities, because “That’s the way we’ve always done it” is now a preamble to failure).

Third, the learner today will need some very important new “soft” skills.  Schools will need to help learners develop these:

  • Communication and presentation
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership
  • Stress and attitude management
  • Financial acumen

The overarching effect of the combination of these five elements is self-confidence, where fitness, hygiene, and manners will be of extreme importance.

Will this be difficult?  Probably more difficult than ever.  Why?  Turn on the television.  You’ll see why.



I’m sure you’ve seen and heard how new wordake their way into the English language.  I’m not referring to slang, jargon, dialect or colloquialisms, but to the creation of new words by using current meanings and combining them, or embellishing established root words with proper references to today’s conditions.

A recent one I’ve seen combined the words “blessing” and lesson” to create “blesson,” which has been defined as “The lesson learned from the blessing that one has received.”  The blessing comes first, and then the lesson is learned from it.  For those of you that are parents, you’ll understand this word immediately.

In education, “The art or profession of teaching” and “Preparatory training or instruction” are acceptable definitions for “pedagogy.”  Interestingly, the word comes from the Greek paidagogia, which is “the office of a child’s tutor.”  The Greek root “ped” means “child” (the Latin root “ped” means “foot.”).  Therefore, “pedagogy” in its most correct sense refers to teaching a child.

“Andragogy,” on the other hand, has been advanced by educational researcher Malcolm Knowles as the manner in which adults learn.  The Greek root “andra” means “man” (but is also a female name in Greek meaning “Strong and Powerful.”).  For anyone that’s participated in adult educational experiences, you may have noted that there is a difference between how adults learn and how children learn.  Adults are able to relate life experiences more readily than children to the learning, and are usually participating in education experiences for practical purposes to better themselves, their current situations or environment, or the current conditions in which they find themselves.  They are usually more motivated to learn than are the students enrolled in compulsory educational programs.

But today, brains are changing.  It’s the digital age, and kindergarteners are teaching their grandparents how to program the iPad that their adult children got for them.  While there are those senior citizens who still believe in reading the newspaper every day, there are octogenarians who are getting new computers, updating their Facebook accounts, and complaining to their local cable companies when they experience connectivity issues.

About three years ago (in 2014), this site posted that it’s time for a new word that puts everyone together into this new learning paradigm that cuts across multiple generations.  Here’s a quote from the original posting:

“Let’s call it, “Digigogy,” since the Digital Natives and Millennials are bringing Generation X and the Silent Generation together – not necessarily by gathering around the banquet table, but by building cyberconnections with one another.

Technology is an interesting phenomenon.  Just as television is seen as the culprit that began to break up the family’s act of gathering around the dinner table, but helped to connect the world via satellite communication, today’s technology can bring the masses together, but separate family members from one another by displacing in-person communication with electronic conversations and games with relatives and friends.  It makes us more distant from those who are closest, yet closer to those who are distant.  Perhaps that can be the first understanding associated with digigogy.”

Turns out that’s not the first understanding of “digigogy.”  It’s a concept that started 6 years before that article, and in technology, 6 years is a lifetime!  Here’s the first post from http://digigogy.blogspot.com:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

1st Post…

What to write, what to write?

Since I have a pretty significant online footprint already, adding another blog doesn’t seem to be that big of a step outside of my box.  However, I rarely write about the teaching and learning that go along with educational technology, if for no other reason than I haven’t had the space to do it in.  I write and share a lot on twitter, but sometimes I need more room to express what I’m trying to say.  Hence, DigiGogy–my views on Learning and Teaching with technology, as we begin to unravel that line between digital native and digital immigrant–creating a new digital pedagogy that embraces rather than excludes.

It is my intention to up-end tradition, then bury it completely.  What used to be right and acceptable is no longer.  Sage on the stage, drill and skill, even plain old lecturing–all going the way of 8-track tapes.  The new way is here, and it demands changes in the ways that teachers do their jobs.  It’s all about Sharing, Organizing, Collaboration, Engagement, Revising and Remixing, Networking, and learning TOGETHER.

Our classrooms aren’t inside four walls anymore, they are the world.  We must invite so that we are invited, riding a new wave of learning that is like nothing we’ve ever seen before.


This is from Mike Fisher, a former teacher and now owner of The Digigogy Collaborative.  His LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikefisher821/ describes him as a “Modern Learning Curriculum Design and Instruction Technology Coach.”  What started out as a blog article as grown into a framework and a business.

Check out The Digigogy Collaborative at http://www.digigogy.com/.  Not only was this term coined 9 years ago, you know it’s a new term when you can buy the URL.

So what about a really new word for this year?  I thought of “stractical,” as something that’s strategic, yet practical.  In my work with schools, there are usually just a few simple paradigm shifts that can work together systemically to create a more solid financial framework for the school.  However, there is already a consulting organization Stractical Solutions that is building their reputation on this concept.

The “big idea” now seems to be disruption.  It’s how a new product or service breaks into the marketplace.  There seems to be three concepts associated with disruption:

  1. It’s innovative.  That means it’s not a response to a market “need.”  Last week’s article described the trends observed in 2017, and new products and services that respond to trends are quickly adopted since they fill a need.  Apple (under Steve Jobs) was the king of disruption, as they introduced products that the market didn’t know it needed…until they tried it.  Once that’s done, they can’t live without it.  It also means there’s nothing else like it.  The iPhone wasn’t an improvement on a Blackberry.  It was designed as a mobile device to access the Internet…as well as a phone and a music storage device.  This way you didn’t have to carry around a Blackberry, an iPod…and…a digital camera, a digital video recorder and a Palm PDA.
  2. It “appears.”  Usually through your social media channels.  Technology has taken the potential for success out of the hands of big business and put it into everyone’s grasp.  Online small businesses (and large businesses) are putting traditional brick and mortar businesses out of business.  Once someone finds it, and spreads their “like” through their social media channels, adoption doesn’t rely on the advertising gurus on Madison Avenue to come up with a killer ad campaign.  In fact, most of the commercials you see today are either “Awareness” or “Sale” oriented.  Their main function is to keep you aware that they still exist, or they have some great deals for you.
  3. It’s not “interruptive.”  Disruptive means making you take notice while you’re doing something you’re normally doing.  You’re checking Facebook to see what your family is up to, and something appears that captures your interest.  In the same way, you’re checking email, and there’s one for half-price deal on pizza which you can take advantage of for that New Year’s Eve party you’re planning.  Interruptive, on the other hand, is that telemarketer who calls while you’re washing dishes and masks their phone number so you think it’s one of your neighbors calling you.  It’s why door-to-door candy sales don’t work as fundraising vehicles anymore.  No one wants to be interrupted because it takes twice as long as the interruption to regain focus on the task you we’re doing before you were interrupted.  If another interruption takes place, that refocus time is doubled again!  It’s why people working at home while the kids are at school get more done than if they’re at the office working on projects which require disciplined focus.

So what happens if we combine “disruptive” and “practical?”  We get “disruptical,” which can be confused with “disrupt ical functions” which is utilized in medical research.

But what about “strategic” and “disruptive?”  “Stratuptive?”  That’s definitely a new word!  There’s no Google listings for it at all…as of this writing, that is.  Let’s see what happens in three years.