comment on their blog – subverting the middleman via interconnectivity. Hierarchy is subverted. The mobile phone takes it a stage further, making the digital subversion quicker, a quick response unit of the blogging world, if you will.
Often, in this deluge of information, the Non-Believer (not that blogging is ever some kind of personality cult) will proclaim: “I want to filter information”. In a beautifully simple exemplification Anina (http://anina.typepad.com/), points out that information filtering is not useful in fashion. There’s a need to see things that take you out of your comfort zone, teach you something new or point out something that needs resolved. Like white socks and sandals, man.
What’s wrong with classrooms, textbooks and paper-driven homework diaries and learning logs? Nothing much. But our kids think differently to the way that most of our teaching population think. Maybe if learners are so tapped into technology and the attention filtering I have mentioned this explains why so many learners have trouble paying attention in the traditional 50-minute lesson.
And if I, a teacher aged 27 who has had a computer since the age of six, has blogged since 2001 and has won two national awards for the connections my websites have made for kids is already using these tools to socialise, goodness knows what our children are going to be doing in 27 years’ time.
“I never have the time”. “The internet’s just providing too much information these days”. “No-one ever knows where to start with all this information”. Common symptoms of the Non-Believer, enough to stop him or her ever starting their own blog, podcast or del.icio.us bookmarking site (http://del.icio.us/). But there is some truth in what these detractors say.
The internet could be seen as becoming a victim of its own success by providing a means for the masses to not only seek information but, in the past few years, to provide their own versions and interpretations of information in real time and at the click of a mouse. Information which would have been interesting in a book two years ago would now be of more interest in a blog, defunct in days or hours as it is reinterpreted by scores, hundreds or thousands of others around the globe. (This is why the concept of a blog as a portfolio of work is such a bizarre thought for me: it’s setting your work up to be reinterpreted when, with the finished products of a portfolio, you want to present, for better or for worse, a final version of your thoughts. But I digress…)
As educators we believe we work first and foremost in the knowledge industry, yet our current attitudes and beliefs of what in fact constitutes knowledge are widely out of touch with the reality of modern knowledge systems.
As Dave Weinberger noted in his article in Smart Tech’s ieMagazine Autumn 2005 (http://edu.blogs.com/edublogs/2006/01/time for knowle.html):
“The traditional idea of Western knowledge goes back to the Greeks. They had an intensely practical problem: When the citizens of the city spoke up in Athens’ democracy (no women, poor people or slaves need apply), how could they decide whom to believe? The craft of rhetoric was advancing. Could human judgment keep up with it? Are there ways of discerning a true opinion from a false one? What makes an opinion worthy of belief? Thus did the quest for knowledge begin.”