I have always thought that one needs to be a masochist to be well educated. You have to force yourself through the process of reading and acquiring information that may seem completely irrelevant. It would seem that the creativity involved in learning is used to develop circuitous connections between your own experiences and your newly acquired knowledge. Only blind faith in a future event that requires you to understand representations of masculinity in 1960′s Italian cinema keeps you sitting through a tedious lecture. It is hard to stay focused on a subject that is not relevant.
The real reason why Google is important is that it provides a shortcut to the relevant information we need. From the constructivist view, we create knowledge in our minds through a process of trial and error. This makes acquiring new knowledge through Google a bit like traveling by subway. When you get off of the train and emerge above ground, you find yourself in a completely new environment with different landmarks. You learn what the street looks like near any given stop, but you only fill in your knowledge of the space between stops as you need to find things that are further away. Your knowledge of a city would be constructed in nodes with the most detail near each subway stop. Google’s nodes are based around semantics, keywords. They allow us to guide our own learning experience by jumping to relevant information first.
Reading, writing and arithmetic are the predefined nodes of knowledge in the American educational system. Everyone needs to be able to receive information, transmit information, and to make calculations relevant to daily life. Moving deeper, we have to ask what content should we learn? This is where things begin to get difficult because the same content will not be relevant to all of us. Without relevance, the incentive to seek out information dwindles.
The video Future Learning tries to address this pitfall by presenting a variety of solutions involving new technologies.
To you creative thing happener makers out there: when you use technology to seek out information, the information you seek is self-defined, based upon a desire to do or create something. You can drive the learning process. You need to know how to bake a pie? You Google it, and find a thousand different recipes. Through trial and error you will probably arrive at knowing how to make a pretty good pie. I would argue that the desire to create something is more important that the knowledge of how to do it. The knowledge is already at your fingertips. You really just need to know what you want to create.
Don’t learn to create. Create to learn.