” We don’t have to choose between them. Both have value. The Circle is a lump of qualified, sober experts. The Facebook page is a big, throbbing lump of people who want to talk about Heidegger for whatever reason. The two together form a loosely connected network of people who care about Heidegger. The participants collectively know more, they find answers faster, their curiosity is more stimulated, they are made aware of more facets of their topic, and they are involved in more discussion about those facets. The multi-way nature of the Net enables smart experts to be smarter than ever, although it’s clear that the Net can also enable us to go down wrong paths with ever more certainty.”
— Weinberger, Too Big to Know, p. 63-34
The paragraph quoted above caught my eye as it seems to translate well into a commentary on the current state and future of education in the “digital age”. Below I’ve placed a condensed collection of notes I wrote while reading chapters 1-4 of Too Big to Know. I tried to clean it up to make the thoughts more coherent, in the process I may have made them more convoluted. Sorry for that.
The death of obsolete or plain misguided pedagogical methodologies is (and has, for some time, been) coming. The internet is not the bullet in the gun, it is one of many nails in the coffin, and as far as I can tell, not the final. Knowledge, with its various definitions, is as much affected by the new shape(s) of the information available as it is by our means of discussing and navigating that information. David Wheeler, of Plymouth University, UK, in his presentation on learning in the digital age, put it well when he wrote “For the first time we are preparing students for a future we cannot clearly describe.” That future, I think, will rely on networks of thought, networks spreading the obligation of expertise rather than attempting to contain it within a Teacher or single room. If I’m right, or at least not completely wrong, then in an age where the overload of information has been overloaded, where one’s ability to navigate the networks of knowledge is as much a struggle as the attempt to understand the information, we must adapt and create rooms that speak with rooms. Creating a network of classrooms, classrooms wherein teachers share the stage with other experts, where students understand their power to filter and contribute, is no easy feat, but it may just be the future of learning, a future we can’t clearly describe because we are still in the process of building it.