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Information and Information Abundance

Landfrey was a bugler in the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaklava, October 25, 1854, of the Crimean War. On August 2, 1890 he made a recording of a call for a calvary charge. The call Landfrey plays is the same call that led the charge of the light brigade in 1854. He made the recording with a trumpet that was used at the Battle of Waterloo, June 18, 1815, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Here is the recording.

This is information. It is now available to everyone in the world who has an internet connected device that is able to play a MP3 audio file. This is information abundance. What role does information play in education in a world of information abundance?

I read blog after blog about the coming educational revolution – and I believe that it is and will happen, but where does information fit?

Models are sketched out, tried, adjusted, tried again. Most of the digitisation in education has involved what we do already (poorly in most cases) simply being digitised and moved online. I read about the preparation of materials (read: information) for students to engage in during their online learning experience. I read about motivation through gamification. I read about carefully planning for the learning experience. I read about all of the things that I have been doing all these years when I stand up in front of my students and tell them what I want them to regurgitate (with a little bit more) at some time in the future. Is this all we have come to? Is this the best we can do?

What does education mean in a world of information abundance? What does learning entail in a world where learning has come to mean memorising information?

I see others in HE talk about the value of learning critical thinking skills, and then spend all their time espousing information – while providing a single opportunity (maybe two if there is an essay and exam) to demonstrate critical thing wrapped around the information they have espoused. HE educators want clear evidence of evaluative thinking – in a single go. While focussing on content, they want skills learned – and then are disappointed when it doesn’t happen.

So, what role does information play in a world of learning where information is ubiquitous?

I don’t think I’m done with this one yet, but need time to think this through.

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Categories: Information abundance
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  1. June 19, 2013 at 11:07 am

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