If you have not watched Kevin Kelly’s 2007 TedTalk about predicting the next 5000 days of the web, do so before reading this post:
I have just finished watching it as part of a class I am taking and all I can think of is -WOW! I’ve read a lot about web development and where it is headed being in education. I first heard the term the semantic web about 3 years ago at a conference I was attending and they called it the “thinking” web. There were several things that struck me about this video in terms of education and in terms of society.
Web 2.0 changed the web dramatically and while some have embraced those changes wholeheartedly, others are very reluctant to make those changes. I access the internet on a daily basis and use several different avenues to do so: my phone, my iPad, my laptop, my desktop. Anyway, I can stay connected I can. Can I get away from it? Yes. But what am I doing that I feel I have to stay connected? I’m checking Facebook to stay connected to family and friends when I don’t see them. I’m checking Twitter to see what my PLN has said about information I’m interested in whether it be educational topics or book reviews or what is happening in Wyoming. I’m checking my RSS feeds to see updates from the blogs I’m following. I’m looking at Pinterest to see what someone has posted new and to see if I want that or not. In all, I’m going to the Internet for experiences and sometimes experiences that I could only get by meeting someone, writing an email, or going outside my home. I know that most people say this is the fall of our society. That because we can be connected through these virtual realms, that we will no long have face to face interactions or be able to handle them. Like all things, we need to have balance. We can still have these connections but let’s not lose site of the fact that we need to hear a human voice, we need to see someone face to face or for a quick hug. We still need PEOPLE and we cannot see ourselves solely has the machine (i.e. Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not A Gadget Manifesto) and be manipulated as such.
One idea that Kelly mentions is the idea that really we don’t need to memorize anything or keep facts stored as we can “google” them just as quickly. To an extent I agree with this and it goes back to the idea of if we don’t use it we lose it. But is it important then to learn it in the first place? At one point in time in our society that was very important as the access to look it up was not readily available. Education is battling this exact idea and going back and forth between those individuals who would want to emphasize skills and those who want to emphasize content. Balance is needed. Why can’t we use content to teach skills? Or why can’t we come up with a collective content, those ideas that are important for everyone to be familiar with? My sister-in-law posed the question: “Do you want to be at a cocktail party and someone mentions George Washington and you have say hold on just a minute while I look up who that is?” Who would determine this collective content. In some ways, is that what the common core is trying to do? I have more questions than answers at this point that I think may have to be left to another post.