Do We Live In An Age Of Information Overload?

We live in a world where knowledge is at our fingertips.If you have a question – ask Google. Apparently Google logs 2 billion searches every day! What did we do before Google? For me, as a child in the 1950’s and 60’s, my teacher was my ‘Google’. It was the teacher who had the knowledge and we went to school to learn from them. My access to knowledge at home was limited to a very cheap children’s encyclopaedia, which soon became out of date.

The role of the teacher today needs to change – they are no longer the ‘wise guardians of knowledge’. Information today is easily accessible through a myriad of technological devices. Teachers today have to be guides, showing children where the information they want can be found, but more importantly how they can navigate their way through the wealth of information out there to ensure relevance and accuracy. It is time to rethink the role of the teacher in the classroom and this will inevitably make us re-think the role of learning.

The following is taken from the introduction to something written in 1605 by Sir Francis Bacon:

In 1605, Sir Francis Bacon, the father of scientific thinking, outlined these essential habits of minds:

  • Nimble & versatile to see relationships among things, in addition to subtle distinctions between them.
  • Inquisitive.
  • Patient enough to doubt and ask questions.
  • Fond of reflecting.
  • Slow to assert and ready to consider multiple points of view.
  • Careful to support their points of view and to formulate an argument with reasons and evidence.
  • A slave neither to passing trends nor to established traditions but capable of judging  the credibility of sources and making independent judgements about information.
  • Alert to all deception.

This left me with some questions:

1. Are these ‘habits of mind’ even more essential in 2012 than they were in 1605?
2. Who are the ‘teachers’ of the 21st Century?
3. Are schools, as centres of learning, an outmoded idea?

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About Mike

Now that I'm retired I have more time to devote to writing my blog and creating short stories.
This entry was posted in Modern Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Do We Live In An Age Of Information Overload?

  1. Pingback: The Job Description Changes Again « The Teacher's Dictionary

  2. Indigo Spider says:

    When I was in graduate school working on my library degree, one of the biggest questions was how to help students/people discern the relevant, trustworthy information from the dreck. Google provides a wealth of links but not all should be considered worthwhile sources. So, perhaps we do need the essentials more now than ever. Not all information is equal.

  3. Mike says:

    I couldn’t agree more.
    One of the things we should be teaching our children is how to u facilities like Google in such a way that they can be sure of the accuracy of their research. So often people assume that the first site that Google throws up must be the most accurate.

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