The Snowflaking of Teaching


I’ve been pondering this for a long time and would like to finally take it more public to generate more discussion and change.  Hence I’d like to have more of you pondering the Snowflake Effect on teaching and see what we can come up with collectively.  Think about it this way perhaps:

Where will we find enough teachers when we need more teachers than there are learners & every living person is more than one learner?

Some of my thinking and reasoning (boldly assuming I’m capable of either) includes the following:

  • The Snowflaking of learning is about envisioning a time when every person on the planet has multiple “just right” learning experiences every day and more likely every hour.
  • Every living person, and perhaps more than that depending on your beliefs, is a learner.  So we start with all 6.6 billion of us on the planet, and growing exponentially, at least till 2050 or so but more on that later.
  • We have seen the inversion of the teacher:student ratio where we used to assume that every teacher would be surrounded by multiple students and now we understand that in fact every learner is surrounded by multiple teachers.
  • As the supply of things to learn about grows exponentially with new inventions, discoveries, content and people, the demand for learning is growing exponentially as the growth of grows as well.
  • If the vast majority of our learning is informal (typical estimates are about 90%), does the ratio of informal teaching need to match?
  • My use of the word “teacher” in this context is very broad and along the lines of anyone who assists someone else in learning something, gaining a new skill, acquiring new abilities, etc.
  • Teaching in this context does not need to be either in person, nor live and synchronous.  Though it would include these scenarios so too would any captured versions such as writings, audio, video, diagrams, sketches, and any other ways one person helps another to learn, understand, see, do, act.
  • If you “do the math” on this you start with 6.6 Billion and multiply this by these different factors, multiple times.  By whatever calculations I think we end up with a REALLY big number of how many “teachers” we need.  A number even larger than those being thrown around in all the discussion about the current economy where a trillion seems to be the new “one” as it is the starting point or base number we start with.

Well you get the idea and I hope this helps cause some spontaneous cognitive combustion as your great mind ponders these questions.  What are your thoughts on this and where do you see us finding enough teachers to match the demand and need for learning?

I’ll be sharing more of what I’ve come up with in all my pondering and wandering on this topic, can’t way to hear more of yours.


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