Information not only wants to be free, it’s actively seeking you

The Interweb Tubes are an amazing place. Not too long ago, you had to go find information. This meant you needed to know what you were looking for as well as where to find it. Sure the library was a good starting place, but books are only good if you know which books contained the best information. Learning a new trade or even understanding the basics still generally required human interaction.

Then, the web exploded. Before you knew it, there were large websites devoted to the most obscure topics imaginable. Search engines made it possible to find the information quickly, and the hyperlinked nature of the web allowed people to quickly navigate toward the information they felt most relevant. Eventually, the web started becoming more interactive, with forums discussing the most obscure topics available. No longer were you relying on pure luck to find the right information, people were discussing it at length.

And now, it seems like you don’t even have to seek information, you can let the information find you.

Take belts for example. I needed a new one, but instead of looking through countless reviews and websites, I simply made a post discussing my needs and dozens of people posted comments letting me know what to look for.

I nearly bricked my Android phone. The XDA forums are a massive place, and even with searching, I couldn’t seem to locate the correct information on how to fix my Captivate. I put up a post explaining my situation, and within an hour I had the solution to my woes (phone is kicking names and taking ass now!). Not only that, I had commenters on my own blog giving me hints to where to look.

I’ve started believing that everything we think we know about education is wrong. We now have a communication system that can tailor the information you need automatically. Most of my job developing software revolves around finding others who have done things similar to what I’m trying and modifying it to suit my company’s needs. If I find a page that isn’t relevant, there tends to be a forum attached or a list of ‘Related Articles’ that can help me narrow down to my specific needs. There’s no way you can do this in a classroom environment.

I’m not saying we should abolish schools, mind you. I’m just saying there’s different ways of teaching that don’t involve one teacher trying to teach the same information to 18 to 30 students who all learn at different paces and in different ways. In these days, the information they need can find them.

posted by by Robb Allen @
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