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Grad 2024: From deep fakes to calculus and everything in between

A world at their fingertips, pathways at their feet

It might only be a few centimetres across the brim of a mortarboard graduation cap, but the tassel flip that symbolizes the completion of the grade-school years for hundreds of Lakeland area students represents a limitless journey.

For graduates this year, that journey is venturing into a world that seems more unstable, more uncertain and more instant than it was for generations before.

Political unrest, polarized beliefs, global conflicts creating local upheavals, the wonders and fears of advancing technology, economic instability… all there at the touch of a keyboard or swipe of a screen — and all there along with the standard worries of student loans, jobs, relationships and pimples.

As these young men and women walk across stages to the cheers of classmates, families and communities, they are no longer walking into a figurative ‘world’ of unknowns - thanks to daily digital advances, they are now literally part of that world.

Frightening and exciting.

Frightening because these graduates have been brought up and taught in a fully digital age. Their information comes instantly from social sources, many filled with partisan opinion, speculation and sprinkles of fact. They are expected to see the origins of today’s current events and how they will forge the future from pages of history that continue to be edited.

Exciting because they have been taught to think for themselves, to figure out equations and to explore the possibilities of a world that every second gets smaller and smaller. They can incorporate the mysteries of Artificial Intelligence, with their own ‘actual’ intelligence. They will make mistakes. They will follow wrong paths. That is part of the journey of any graduate from any era.  These graduates, however, quite literally have the world at their fingertips. They can and will absorb information, make choices and explore options at a rate never experienced before because the same technology that we fear is also an opportunity for them to continue their life-learning skills.

The resources these new graduates have access to — and how they will respond — like the space between the sides of the grad caps they so proudly wear, are limitless.


Rob McKinley

About the Author: Rob McKinley

Rob has been in the media, marketing and promotion business for 30 years, working in the public sector, as well as media outlets in major metropolitan markets, smaller rural communities and Indigenous-focused settings.
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