Between the birth of the world and 2003, there were five exabytes of information created. We now create five exabytes every two days. According to Facebook, more than 30 Billion, no that’s not a typo, 30 BILLION pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month. Twitter’s search engine is now receiving close to 1 Billion search queries per day. That’s a whole lot of information flying about in cyberspace isn’t it? The sheer magnitude of information at our finger tips is incomprehensible.
With the existence of all of this information, the role of schools begins to change a great deal, doesn’t it? Where once, schools were responsible for filling students heads with the information they would require to be knowledgeable citizens, prepared for the work force, now there exists an inability for schools to fill that role. How can schools expect to prepare students for active citizenship when there is so much uncertainty about what the world will even look like in 5 years. And knowledge? There is so much to know, it is impossible for schools to even scratch the surface of our collective knowledge, all available in nanoseconds on a child’s personal devise.
Bottom line, schools have to stop focusing primarily on knowledge acquisition and focus more on the skills and values required to work with knowledge and information. Knowledge is now easy. The web provides quick access to the most powerful knowledge available as soon as it is discovered. Holding information in your brain, seems a little less important in light of this. Accessing and analyzing the information becomes the key to success for our modern day citizen. So, schools become places where students learn to use multiple sources of information, think critically on them and be flexible and open minded enough to know that what they may consider to be truth now may be debunked in the near future. Don’t believe me . . . how many planets are there? We thought we were pretty solid on that one when I was a youngster.
We see classrooms becoming centers of thought and analysis now, and most rote memorization has gone the way of the horse and buggy. Ask yourself this, “Are the students in my care REALLY thinking about authenticity of information or simply taking all information that is heard in the classroom as fact?”
Food for thought, I hope.
Keep on Learning,