So we had a pretty brief section where we learned (surprise, surprise) that there’s a lot of new information in the world and most of it is on some form of magnetic media. There was conversation around those facts and maybe it changes what kids/we need to know and do and maybe it doesn’t.
So we know there’s lots of information. Let’s take a closer look at both why this information is exploding and what kind of information is being put out there.
I can publish anything I want right now – text, audio, video – or any combination of the three – and what’s more I can do it for free and I can reach a world-wide audience. (really not sure about this slide, I made probably four other versions and just went with the simplest one)
There are great things about this personal publishing revolution but there are downsides as well. Huge amounts of information lack even the most superficial vetting and as more and more information is published at ever increasing speed it gets more and more difficult to find the quality pieces you need (the red 1s appear with flashes one after another- not sure that works either-a little cheesy maybe).
So the way people are wading through all this information now is search. In July of 2008 Google had 235 million searches a day. That’s just on Google. As late as 2007, 20 to 25% of all searches on Google had never been done before (this stat may not be recent enough to be effective).
What’s more is that the web has changed fundamentally as it has grown. People don’t go to web sites the way they used to. They don’t go to the home page and work their way in. 75% of people go to information directly from their search results.
That makes sense right? But if people are relying this heavily on search, how good do you feel most students, or teachers for that matter, are at searching?
So we know people are searching a lot. Where are they ending up? Who wants to guess which site was getting 1 out of every 200 page views in 2007?
Love it or hate it. It’s Wikipedia.
Do you think that number has increased or decreased? Does it matter? Does it change what we need to do with our students?
Another factor that massive amounts of media causes is an increase it what it takes to get attention. That results in facts like this one that was quoted in a variety of papers and in the media in 19952.
Even if you start with only one child dying in 1950, you’d be cutting into our population just a bit by 1995. It’s obvious this statistic is false if you give it a little thought yet it was published and quoted numerous times.
Organizations feel they need very dramatic stats to capture the attention of media outlets and media outlets feel they need very dramatic stats to capture the interest and attention of viewers. This leads to a very unpleasant cycle if you’re after the truth and want to make decisions based on facts as opposed to emotion.
We need students who treat all information sources with a degree of skepticism, even the “trusted” ones.
This slide shows a non-retouched photo and then allows me to point out the photoshopping.
The speed at which things are published also works against vetting. That rush to be first results in inaccuracies and sources aren’t checked out quite the way they might be if publishing wasn’t so rapid. This particular image didn’t create any ripple effects but it could have.
What kind of skills would help people identify this sort of manipulation on their own?
How do we prepare our students when the line between entertainment and news is getting increasingly blurry?
That’s probably enough for now. I’m sounding a little overly dramatic even to myself.
Once again, help me make this better. That goes for images, argument, facts – whatever. I guess the main idea is that – There’s lots more information out there than ever before. Do we have to rethink what we’re teaching students in order for them to be successful in the world?
1 Besides writing this now cements my obligation to get the recording done, which I never remember to do when presenting live. I’d do it now but all the kids, baby included, are sleeping and the house is just too peaceful. I must not risk disturbing this.