Posted by: zyxo | July 4, 2010

Emerging patterns of learning

The first level.
Like almost all adults, when I was a boy at school I learned a lot of things : to read, write, history, mathematics, geography, etc.
This is the first level of learning : information and some skills that my parents and grand-parents also had to learn.
Looks pretty old-fashioned nowadays.

The second level.
Children at school still learn the basic knowledge and skills. However some skills seem superfluous. who can calculate the square root of a large number without some electronic equipment ? Is it necessary to be able to do such a thing ?
In our informatic era a lot has changed. Is it still necessary for kids to learn all this stuff by heart ? Would it not be much more effective to learn them to properly use search engines like Google, Yahoo!, Bing and to judge the relvance of the obtained search results ?
So, in stead of learning information and basic skills, the second level, that is only beginning to see some daylicht, is learning how to find whatever info is necessary or how to learn whatever skill is wanted. This second level compensates for the rapid change in the first level.

The third level.
Back, before the internet, there where things like books, encyclopedia, people who knew stuff to consult if you wanted to find some info.
Then came Altavista, Google, Yahoo! search and the like to find information on websites.
Nowadays we have facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, True Knowledge, Yahoo! Answers, Linkedin to ask information from other people we know or even don’t know.
This has an important impact on the second level of learning : it is constantly changing. What you learned about tools to find information is outdated after a small handful of years.
A third level of learning is necessary to cope with this change at the second level : our children must learn how to find and use new ways of finding information.

And as Ben Goertzel points out : it is something that’s never over. Doing things means learning how to do it, because it has changed since the last time.

Anyway : it is a huge challenge for our teachers, who often are centuries behind the new developments on the internet, or the new way young dynamic people get things done, and sometimes they are not even aware of the problem.

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