This morning I lurked into the online Future of Education conference. Sugata Mitra related that in slums in India, where computers had never been seen before, primary school kids learned to use computers plopped down in a play area entirely on their own. They became comfortable surfing the net. They taught themselves enough English to navigate.
This afternoon, Dave Snowden addressed the conference with a fascinating session on learning, KM, and the web. A few highlights:
The tacit/explicit model of KM is the biggest set-back KM has experienced. It is wrong. if social networking had been available when KM came out, KM would look much different today.
The brain is a pattern processor. Consciousness is a distributed part of hormonal system.
The blogosphere is more social, resvealing, and diverse than traditional sources. Social networking will increase productivity must three issues concern Dave.
1. validation… as we move into cathedral and bazaar, we should expect spoofs and gaming the system. political conservatives have created their own wikipedia. how does one decide what’s correct virtually? by vote. no, 58% of americans think the earth was formed 4000 years ago.
2. scale… online mimics physical world. virtual world is parallel to physical world. what happens when things balance out? where do we develop our tribal, social natures?
3. cognitive development… brain plasticity is maximum at age 2-3 and adolescence. miss those windows of opportunity and you can’t make up for it. you’re autistic. development requires more than learning the answers in second life.
In between those two presentations, I participated in a conference call with a bunch of geeks about why Facebook is creating such a stir with its annoucement of open APIs.
First of all, recognize that Facebook and MySpace are entirely different animals. MySpace is where teenagers show off. MySpace makes a concerted effort to lock people into its platform. Facebook’s heritage is on the college campus. People have identities. They build relationships there. 97% of American college students are on Facebook.
Here’s the magic: By opening up connections, Facebook has the potential to become the social networking foundation platform. Instead of trying to keep up with memberships in dozens of sites, you’d use Facebook as your central node. Facebook would keep you aware of what your contacts are up to; it won’t broadcast that to the entire world. “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you.”
One caller griped about social information overload. Does Facebook have a solution? A small group of us are exploring uses of Facebook in business. A dozen corporations are reputedly testing Facebook as an expertise locator.
There’s a lot of sheer trivia in the blogosphere: daily entries about what sort of sandwich I had for lunch today. Yes, and a lot of bloggers are writing for themselves alone; that’s okay. I blog to learn. I would never remember any of this stuff if I didn’t process it through summarization and blogging.
Sketching is the quintessential design activity. It’s a language. As Pauling said, “The best way to have a good idea is to have a hundred ideas.” Sketches are visual prototypes. You should always look at alternatives. Bring in five sketches of a project. No favorites because all are valid responses.
Again and again, Bill cautioned us against locking in too early. Making sound decisions requires using our collective intelligence. We need specialists and generalists. Sketching is the opposite of meta.
From the annoucement page for the Future of Education conference:
“The present is saturated with the past and pregnant with the future.”
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz