Agile Publishing Model.

Futurist David Houle

Welcome to the future!  The future of humanity and the future of publishing.

I am very excited about my new book Entering the Shift Age and the new model of publishing Sourcebooks has created, the Agile Publishing Model (APM). The APM is an innovative platform that allows authors to make their content available faster and in a more flexible format. For example, to suit your needs and interests as readers, Sourcebooks offers a variety of ways to purchase the content of Entering the Shift Age, either in individual parts (“mini eBooks”) or as a whole. (Check out “How to Purchase: The Agile Way”.) You can learn more about the APM by watching the video below.

This is part of the future of publishing. Now let’s turn toward our own future, the future of humanity.

We now live in the Shift Age, a time of transformation that will be regarded by future historians as one of the most significant periods in human history. The Shift Age is one of those inflection points or times when much of humanity will change how we live, how we think, how we interact with each other and what we do.


Download Entering the Shift AgeClick here to download the complete .pdf of Part Four of Entering the Shift Age.


The Shift Age will be a truly transformational time for education and will see probably the greatest amount of change in the shortest amount of time in the history of education. All levels of education will be transformed, from Pre-School through graduate school. Long held structures and traditions, decades and even centuries old, will be wiped away by a tsunami of transformative change.

Let us first take a look at each of the levels of education and how they will change in the Shift Age.


The changes at this level will be driven by two significant dynamics.

The first is that, by definition, the children moving through this level will all be part of the second wave of Digital Natives, those born 2009 and after. They will enter kindergarten and nursery school with some level of digital skills and experience. Many 3-5 year olds will have had significant experience using app phones and tablets. They will have spent hundreds of hours experiencing the screen reality before their first day at nursery school. Consequently, they will expect connectivity in the classroom and will have developed habits and a greater desire for immediacy of interaction. This will have to be addressed in ways currently not present today.

Pre-School is still largely the analog environment it has been for decades. As discussed in Chapter 15 this second wave of Digital Natives will have experienced interaction screens since before they could talk. This is an entirely different generation of children than has ever entered Pre-School.

At this level of schooling, much of the educational value is in children developing social interaction skills for the first time. How to share, how to play together, how to express themselves and how to find their place in this first area of social interaction will still remain key to their ability to successfully navigate society in the future, regardless of their individual levels of digital development. However, the issue that will need to be addressed is that these second wave Digital Natives will have both earlier and greater levels of synaptic activity going on in their brains than prior generations due to the time spent with digital devices. To socialize these children and create a positive first experience of “education” and “school” educators must fully embrace the highly interactive touch screen realities that these children are experiencing outside the classroom. To not embrace connectivity in the classroom may intentionally or inadvertently create a first impression that being in school is being in isolated non-connectedness.

The second, and potentially much more significant development is the possibility of incorporating or applying new knowledge about early childhood brain development into pre-school. We have learned more about the brain development of infants in the last decade that all the time before. Why not assimilate this into pre-school education around the world? More has been learned about the brain in the field of neuroscience in the last two decades than in all history. We are much more knowledgeable about how the brain develops in the first years of life than we ever have been before. Think about how much that knowledge might affect how we could accelerate learning in children 3–5 years old.

The single most profound statement I have ever heard about the integration of neuroscience into education was from a good friend of mine, Dr. Jim Rex. At the time Jim was the Secretary of Education for the State of South Carolina, responsible for K–12 and education for the entire state. In mid 2009 Jim convened a two-day conference on the future of education for the state. Luminaries such as Richard Riley, former governor of South Carolina and former Secretary of Education for the United States were in attendance. I was honored to be the keynote speaker.

At the end of the conference, Jim offered up some closing comments. During these comments he leaned into the microphone and said:

If we incorporated all that we have learned in the last 20 years about the development of the brain from the day of birth through age five and brought it into our early childhood education, we could change this country in a generation.

In the Shift Age we have the opportunity for the first time to integrate the incredible knowledge we are learning daily in the field of neuroscience into the education of our young.


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