2008/03/14

The Global Garage Sale: Sifting Through Cyber Debris


"Who is the Master here: the information, or us?"

I love eating sushi, especially when I know it was prepared with passion, prepared with fresh, healthy ingredients, and it looks great. I want it in my mouth, to savor the flavors and textures. I can get sushi from a number of places. I can get if from a cooler at Whole Foods, from a conveyor belt as it slowly glides by me at a brightly lit seat among the lunch rush. Or I can get sushi from a restaurant where the fish is in plain sight (and I am informed was caught an hour earlier), it is assembled by a person I know is trained to prepare this food, and he gives liberal portions presented beautifully. The question is, what kind of sushi do I want?

There is a lot of information out there that anyone with a laptop and free WiFi can find. With applications like Twitter and RSS, information is literally fed to us, from people contributing all around the world, instantly. The trick is determining what kind of information we want, and how to access it in a manner, and time frame that works best for us. This is true in the corporate world, and in education.

Businesses live and die by this ability. There is information (a lot of it) that offers assistance to the corporate person to access and sift through information- step by step processes to maximize time...because time is money, right? Ross Dawson and iLibrarian offer tips and links to help sift through the cyber debris until that needle in the proverbial haystack can be found.

Finding those needles in the haystacks are what can make what we do purposeful and engaging.
How does this apply to education?

Well, education is essentially the process of learning. And it might be the best use of our time to 1) learn things that will help us pay the mortgage and 2) learn things we are interested in knowing...in no particular order. I suggest learning things in which we are interested has great potential to influence the way we pay the mortgage.

So let's teach that way! Let's offer a way for kids to learn as equipped consumers of information. More so, let's set them lose in a collaborative environment to share and remix that information in reality based projects and tasks. Let's get kids ready for a work environment that is waiting for them.

Enter Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). Will Richardson discusses the idea of PLNs here.

The successful people in the business world are the adapters. People are able to adapt because the are informed. If we want our children to be successful adults, let's assist them in their pursuit to build personal learning networks, and to use their tool kit to be wise consumers of endless information, responsible collaborators, and creative individuals with what they receive and how they share.

I want sushi from the freshest source, prepared by the best chef, served in a delicious presentation. I want to hire, and work with a person who can access the best information (in the quickest way), remix it to exceed my expectations, and present it in a way that impresses and inspires. I want our kids to be those people. I want to get them ready for that world, the world that is waiting for them.

1 comment:

Lisa Neal said...

Lovely vision!