re: An Evening with Gardner Campbell

flickhuck4lyfe, in reflecting on Gardner Campbell’s talk, asks, “How much more will they know than I did when I was their age?”

When one of my friends was in law school, he observed that “These lawyers and professors don’t really know all that much more than us; they just know where to look it up.” It’s an interesting thought. Many of us have all the information on the web – the collected knowledge of the human race – in our pockets. So how much do we really know? And we can instantly be in touch with our entire network of friends and colleagues. Can we not answer almost anything? What implications does this have for learning and knowledge?

My take: One of the implications is that reading, writing and arithmetic are no longer enough (not that they ever really were). Knowing how to navigate, filter and evaluate the information environment is also crucial, because everyone else has access to it. And because everyone else has access to it, the truly important thing is what you can do with it, what you can make of it. Critical thinking and creativity.

I’ve always liked history. During my studies in print media I saw the connection between communication innovations and advancements in society. The inventions of written language, paper, printing, mass communication, electronic communication correlate with civilization growing by leaps and bounds. More people sharing more information more widely and more quickly brings more growth – massive positive impacts on humanity. So we’re at an interesting point in history – standing on the verge of getting it on – which as flickhuck4lyfe says, “is kind of scary and encouraging at the same time.”


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