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Info Explosion

A new infographic at Wikibon is hard to take in especially regarding our students.  I find myself wondering how our existing institutional (read school) frameworks can adapt to this environment.  What filtering skills will we teach to manage this ‘weight’?  Will the system Balkanize out of necessity or will we begin to learn to discipline our consumption and production of information?  There is no managing this degree of chaotic complexity.  Or is this the tsunami of chaos roaring toward us.  We are drowned and don’t even know it.  I suspect that other systems surrounding the data (ecosystem, rhizomatic communities, big systems of all stripes) will let us know what’s what and probably in ways that are stranger and more disruptive than we can imagine.  The future is already here, as William Gibson has spoken, “It’s just not very evenly distributed.”

That skewed distribution is nowhere exhibited more transparently than in technology integration within the schools.  Anyone who does professional development for teachers can be heard shaking their heads in agreement.  Some teachers are living in that future already (read coopcatalyst bloggers) but most aren’t.  And they know it.  And they fear it.  Fear can be a thorough teacher if immediate adaptation is what the organism needs.  In other words the frog jumps from the pot of hot water.  But it is not helpful for adapting to insidious change.  I am left to wonder further about how well the existing institutions (school, teacher, student) can be effective in this insidious future.  To quote Gibson again, “There are no maps for these territories.”  How do we learn that much less teach that?  Oddly, this realization makes me exultant not only for the job security it implies, but by the transformation it prefigures.  You come, too.

About tellio

This website will be dedicated to the miscellany of living la vida English. The audience will be weblog companero: students, teachers, and fellow travellers down this road barely trampled. I will be adding occasional posts about where I am going, where you might be going, or wherever I please. The map ain't the damn territory. I am doing this because I know it makes me feel better about the trip if I have a notebook along with me. All the better to make it digital and public.


6 thoughts on “Info Explosion

  1. I think what this proves is that fact based knowledge has lost its usefulness in a rote sense and that creation has been center of learning at this point. You are right to question if we are ready in education for such a switch. I think we can be, but it will take a shift in thinking on a lot of peoples parts.

    Posted by David Loitz | August 2, 2010, 1:07 pm
  2. Old school is going to die, if it hasn’t already…It has within it the air of wither and decay.

    New forms of schooling are being born everyday. See your wikibon. Check out the birth blogs.

    The problem is uneven distribution. Ultimately, who gets left in old school if folks who have the most resources migrate away from it?

    Posted by kirsten olson | August 2, 2010, 8:41 pm
  3. I was swept away by the sheer ‘dunamis,’ the potential energy in the piece by ‘tellio.’
    >”There is no managing this degree of chaotic complexity;”
    >”We are drowned and don’t even know it;” and
    >”The future is already here.”

    And then consider the impulse-driven response in:
    ”How [can] our existing ‘institutional frameworks’ … adapt to this environment,” and “Fear can be a thorough teacher if immediate adaptation is what the organism needs.”

    Such conclusions smack of the spirit of desperation so typical of failed, short-sighted, and impulsive “calls to action,” which only serve to exacerbate rather than assuage a pressing condition.

    The dynamics of forced adaptation reek of disingenuity. It is as a compound whose very binder defines a shortened half-life; merely the second, third or forth generation of a self-disintegrating stop gap.

    That “the future is already here,” is not news: it is a given. It has always been and will always be. Humans do not dis-cover; we only un-cover. This is in accordance with the fundamental nature of our reality.

    That said, rather than inundated by and then fearfully adapting to the ongoing natural expressions of “what is to come,” perhaps a better course of action for educators is to conscientiously anticipate and appropriate that which is ever-emerging.

    Reflect on the image, and corresponding message, of students surfing the crest of a spectacular wave, beneath which their educators are being tumbled helplessly, head over heels, in “chaotic complexity.”

    The endless waves of ‘what is to come’ will never subside; they are of nature and an integral, predictable aspect of human reality. Ironically, however, the answers to the most pressing issues of our day lie not in the future, nor the present, but simply in understanding ‘why we humans are the way we are.’

    Jon Mkl Sherry
    Camp*aign for Kids

    Posted by Jon Mkl Sherry | August 5, 2010, 2:13 pm
  4. chaotic complexity… such bliss.

    it’s almost as if the ginormous wave of info explosion is our savior in ed. like it’s plan is to scare the unwilling masses to a better place. it’s driving us to each other.. to community as curriculum.

    i’m loving it.

    and yet it’s killing me that so many are missing it.

    Posted by monika hardy | August 6, 2010, 4:25 pm
  5. Thanks, Tellio – I really appreciate your willingness to look at where school, teaching, and learning are going.

    With the help of a very giving and motivated staff, I’m going to try to shift our school’s PD this year from whole-group to 1:1. Putting “the future” on the table in a room full of teachers doesn’t mean any one will pick it up and take it with them. “The future” isn’t tailored to anyone, but learning can be. “What do you want to do next?” seems like a better question to me than “What’s next?” Interpersonal relationships and networks informed by technology can be the Great Glass Elevator that brings us together to the parts of the iStack that provide us with purpose in learning and teaching.

    If school dies, does that mean we’ll stop schooling inside it? Will we never have an engine that navigates the iStack so well as a teacher?


    Posted by Chad Sansing | August 11, 2010, 6:57 pm
  6. Tellio,

    You seem way ahead of the pack in terms of ‘recognizing’ that what comes next is already among us, combined with a passion to ‘uncover’ its nature (for, as you intimate, humans never discover; we only ‘uncover’ what has been present in our surroundings all along. Scientist readily admit that a full 50% of what has been discovered has been purely by accident).

    Given the unfortunate but vast limitations of the limited human mind, evinced by the shutting down of one operation (eg. peripheral vision) simply in order to support another (eg cell phoning while driving), the answers you/we seek are more likely to reveal themselves to the degree we are able (or vigorously choose) to be rid of the curse of preconception, which all too often serves to cloud the brains capacity, such as it is, to ‘envision’ by means of cross-referencing.

    This tact, however, presumes a fundamental concern for precisely ‘WHY we are the way that we are’ as living organisms/God’s creatures (your choice). All else geysers forth, as it were, from that point of departure – naturally [read: of nature].

    Jon Mkl Sherry

    Posted by Jon Sherry | August 13, 2010, 11:37 am

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