Do the “basics” change over time?

George Couros, The Principal of Change, Jul 06, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The short answer to this question is "yes". But I don't think they hop from topic to topic, and I don't think they're something that communities simply decide for themselves. What happens, I think, is that the basics get 'deeper' over time (I put 'deeper' in quotes because it sort of means 'more basic', sort of means 'more widely applicable', and sort of means 'less immediately applicable'). That's why we see the basics migrate over the centuries from 'read a language' to 'write clearly in a language' to 'engage critically with a language', say, or 'perform addition and multiplication' to 'use variables in formulae and expressions' to 'work with numbers and sets'. Each of these reflects increasing knowledge of these fields, as well as increasing complexity of their application in day-to-day life. I think the information and digital age forces us to change the basics again, not simply by hopping to a new '21st centiry literacy', but by pushing deeper once more, into the nature of information.

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