Regular Joe

Unfiltered (and totally caffeinated)

The Golden Age of Education

In a recent “Open Education” post, the concept of TMI “too much information” was discussed in context of our ability to make sense of the news in front of us, buffetting us, surrounding us.  The article is a great read about how lots and lots of information has changed the game (for good or bad, well, that seems to be in the eye of the beholder).

The article ends with this, a discussion of “A Golden Age”:

A Golden Age

If knowledge is truly power, then we should be entering a golden age, one where everyone has unlimited access to the authority once held only by the elite in society.

The fact that we seem to be far from such a place does beg several questions.

And the biggest one befalls education – many have written that the next phase of schooling must move towards a focus that places the information age at its core for the next generation of learners. In fact, it would seem that the words of Postman are most prescient – twenty years ago he noted the volume of information that was being produced and the issues that it would present.

But education changed little over those 20 years. So we now have a large group of citizens unable to emotionally and intellectually handle the breadth of information available to them.

The answer is certainly not to limit information. The answer is in creating an educational system that helps individuals understand how to best make use of the knowledge.

The power that today’s information-rich society has available is truly unprecedented. As always, education is the great equalizer, but now we must turn our attention towards helping our young people learn how to filter, reduce and use the knowledge that is accessible to them.

I’m good with that.  The issue I see though (and I see this everyday) is that the realm of education by default, places itself outside the information.  It’s a walled castle with limited access and filtered news.  If you were to make a little venn diagram of “Information” and “Education’s Information” (which represents what students and teachers have at their disposal on any given day) then just their edges would be touching.

Early in the Open Education post it talked about the Davinci Institute’s stats on blogs, books, and videos.  At best, few schools provide their students access the complete library of information available through video and blog posts (blogger and youtube are often blocked completely).

I agree with the need to have education refocus on the information available.  But if it’s filtered what’s the point?


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