We may be only approximately only two decades into the twenty first century, but the world has already changed immeasurably. Changes occur daily, yet taken into view yearly these changes become extremely noticeable. The people of today’s society are changing every day, and therefore so is the world. Of course, there is much to celebrate, and also much to mourn in this new world. It is a time of freedom and technological developments.
To define 21st century learning we first need to accept that many of the traditional methods of teaching are no longer relevant in our high tech, super-connected fast paced society. The recent rapid pace of change has been such that we can no longer look back and even imagine how life was before this style of living.
We have seen advancements all over, in almost every field: be it technology, space, employment opportunities, society, etc. people have grown more accepting to all sections of society, although there is a long way to go still. But on the other hand, we have had terrible regressions, wars and bans coming our ways.
What is the 21st Century?
To begin with, let us understand what the 21st century is. The 21st century is the current period consisting of a hundred years of the Anna Domini (AD) era, or the Common Era (CE), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. It is the first century of the third millennium. The third millennium refers to the 3rd thousand year period, made up of several smaller centuries. The twenty first century began on January 1, 2001 and will end on December 31, 2100.
The Gregorian calendar attempts to divide history into roughly two periods: before Christ (BC), which starts at 1 and increases backwards, and the years after his birth, which are AD, which stands for Anna Domini, the Latin translation of “the year of the Lord.”
The 21st Century is a century for love, a century for devotion, a century for technology, and a century for revolution. In spite of the few abrupt quarrels or even massacres, none of which can be undermined, the people continue to show us that their hearts are filled with love.
It is also a century filled with unifying protests, which bring out the companionship between individuals, communities and even countries together. Women stand together, religions stand together, citizens of countries stand together, in times of any crisis.
The 21st century stands for peace on an international scale. It stands for people attempting to break down barriers that cut them off from others. Will they succeed? That is for the future to know and for us to find out.
“The Century of technology” has been the nickname given to the twenty first century. We are among the first to live in the digital age. Technology has made significant changes in how and what work is done. Fewer people are required to generate the same manufactured output thanks to technology, allowing (or forcing) people to shift to urban centres and find other kinds of work. Technology has allowed human workers to be unshackled from the office, giving them a much greater freedom.
In the year 2000, the concept of Bluetooth emerged. Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data between mobile devices or fixed computers over a short distance. Bluetooth brought the concept of exchanging data in a streamlined wireless way to the masses, creating personal area networks with mobile devices.
Then again, in 2004, the unveiling of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg took the world by a storm. Linking the world with communication is becoming a powerful theme through these top spot holders in terms of technological advancements, and perhaps none have pushed the envelope quite like Facebook has.
Facebook was the pioneer of social media in general, bringing the capability to the average person and changing the world forever. Now social media is essential for business, a primary channel for news consumption and it is used in an influential way globally. After Facebook, the new social media outlets included a very wide range: Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and so on.
Of course, all of these new-fangled apps came after the smartphone revolution in 2007, when Steve Jobs and Apple launched the first iPhone, the world’s most powerful personal device. From 2007 to 2019, there have been countless models unveiled. The most recent one is the iPhone XR. In the meantime, there have been several other brands and operating systems, the most popular of them being the Samsung, Nokia, Xiaomi, Lenovo and Galaxy.
Another feat of telecommunication in the 21st century and a giant among technological advances is the Skype application software, which not only made verbal communication possible via computers, but also, perhaps most importantly, ushered in the era of video chat. Now we also have Duo, WhatsApp Calling, Facetime and several other interfaces.
Last, but not the least is the artificial intelligence that has prospered as of late. We now have Alexa, Siri, Google and Cortana tending to all our questions and needs, waiting on us every minute. Isn’t life in the twenty first century simply great?
Space exploration had, of course, began in the 20th Century itself, with the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union. However, in the 21st century, it has been taken much further, by the whole world in general as well as specifically in India. The first event of great importance is the loss of Pluto as a planet in our solar system on September 13, 2006.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded the status of Pluto to that of “dwarf planet.” This means that from now on only the rocky worlds of the inner Solar System and the gas giants of the outer system will be designated as planets.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), based in Bangalore, had also launched Chandrayaan 1, India’s first ever lunar probe, in 2008. In the near future, that is to say by July 2019, Chandrayaan 2 will also be sent to space as the second lunar exploration mission.
The mission is planned to be launched to the Moon by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III. It includes a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all developed indigenously.
In 2012, the Curiosity Rover was launched by the United States onto Mars. It had even managed to take a selfie there. The rover is still operational, and as of May 20, 2019, Curiosity has been on Mars for 2478 since landing on August 6, 2012.
In the next ten years, India has planned to launch seven other space exploration missions.
The most awaited and exciting prospective is probably Aditya 1, set to be launched in 2021, which will be India’s first solar exploration mission. It is designed to study the solar corona (outer layers of the Sun) which is quite similar to NASA’s Parker Solar Probe. Another one of the seven includes a satellite to Venus.
Developments in Society
The developments in society have been too numerous and widespread to talk about all of them. However, we could mention four important highlights. The first one occurred in 2014, when Malala Yousafazi became the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Prize Award. Malala is a Pakistani activist, fighting for the rights of girls to education.
Everyone knows her story. She was shot in the head by a Taliban arms man, for going to school. But she battled against death itself and won. She now continues to encourage other girls too to fight for their right of education. She is an inspiration to everyone.
The second highlight occurred in 2015, which was the legalisation of same sex marriage across fifty states of the United States of America. It was long battle for rights by the lgbtq community, and they have finally been awarded some of those rights. However, the battle has not ended yet.
They continue to face some of the same bullying and hardships as before. On another note, in India, article 377 of the Constitution decriminalised homosexuality, in 2018. It took us a very long time, but people have finally become more accepting towards others, irrespective of their personal choices.
The third highlight was in 2016, when the United Kingdoms decided to leave the European Union. This lead to the creation of Brexit. As things stand, the United Kingdoms is due to leave the European Union at 23:00 GMT on 31 October 2019. If the UK and European Union ratify the withdrawal agreement before then, the UK will leave on the first day of the following month.
The last highlight is not an occurrence as such, but simply the next generation. In the 21st century, millennials and generation Z have come to rise and prominence in the world. They follow a ‘nihilistic’ lifestyle, and more often than not, they believe in existentialism.
Changes in Areas of Employment
The concept of working has changed in the 21st century. There are now, two main types of employees: the work from home employees, and the office worker.
21st century workers want to work for themselves instead of for someone else. This drive towards entrepreneurship is making a success of business plays and hence, leads into the steady increase in hours per week being dedicated to work.
There are now much longer work hours put in, and a much later retirement.
The quality of life has drastically reduced. In the past, limited technology meant that what we did was more directly tied into a wage-per-item concept of work. What you made or did determined your wage in a direct way.
Manufacturing, agriculture, and the office commute were the mainstays. But no more. Changes in technology, a shift in the culture, and financial challenges have shifted both the kind of work we do and the way we do it.
The 21st Century came in with a bang, and continued to crop up with different surprises: both good and bad. We have managed to do the impossible, and live through things unimagined. And no one knows what will lie in wait for us in the future, which we are rattling towards in full speed.
Yet, I know for sure, if we stand together, all as inhabitants of the same Earth, we shall stand strong and united, ready to take on anything that comes our way. Predictions are simply assumptions. They have the same probability of failing as they have of actually occurring, and hence, it is worthless to talk of them.
But we can promise ourselves this much: the developments we have come to live with will always be less in comparison to the developments we will uncover in the future. As students, we instruct our teachers how to use the mouse and keyboard to open up PowerPoint presentations.
Well, in the future, there is going to be no lack of students explaining to their teachers how to work holocausts. Times change, generations change. How are you going to change?