This newsletter is written by David Moursund and produced by Ken Loge.
Information Age Education (IAE) is a non-profit organization dedicated
to improving education for learners of all ages throughout the world.
IAE is a project of the Science Factory, a 501(c)(3) science and
technology museum located in Eugene, Oregon. Current IAE activities
include a Wiki with address http://IAE-pedia.org
a Website containing
free books and articles at http://I-A-E.org
and the free newsletter
you are now reading.
To subscribe to this twice-a-month free newsletter and to see back
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Each issue of this newsletter contains four parts. The introduction you
are now reading is the first part. The other three parts focus on the
past, present, and future of our educational system.
women are to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same
things." (Plato; Greek philosopher and educator; 428-347 B.C.)
The Information Age
officially began in the United States in 1956. Thirty years later the
following article was published:
Moursund, D.G. (February 1986). The Information Era: What does it mean
to education? The Computing Teacher. Eugene, OR: ICCE. Access at
Quoting from this article:
think the major
difficulty is that while "information" is a useful term in describing
our current era, capital-intensive, service-oriented, high tech/high
touch, and shrinking world are also appropriate. The latter term is of
particular significance. We live in a world that is steadily shrinking
due to improvements in transportation and communication. Radio and
television audiences for a major event may amount to 20 percent of the
entire earth's population or more. It is estimated that by the year
1990 there will be about one billion telephones interconnected by our
telecommunications system. That is about one for every five people on
earth! The cost of communication between two places via
telecommunications satellite is essentially independent of the distance
between them. There are telecommunication satellites currently in
production or on the drawing board that will add hundreds of thousands
of additional long distance telephone circuits.
At the same time, high tech is shrinking the world, populations
continue to increase and the people of this planet are becoming more
interdependent. To me this suggests our educational system needs to
combine high tech with high touch. The high-tech aspect of our current
era indicates that we need a number of highly trained, technically
In the past couple of
years, Thomas L. Friedman
wrote the books “The World is Flat” and “Hot, Flat, and Crowded.” I
highly recommend these books to educators and people concerned about
our educational system.
to learn something about everything and everything about something."
(Thomas H. Huxley; English writer; 1825–1895.)
totality of human knowledge is huge and growing quite rapidly. Thus,
our educational system needs to think very carefully about what it
really wants students to learn. There is not enough time to learn
everything—indeed, there is not enough time to learn even a hundredth
of one percent of everything.
One approach to this educational challenge is to think in terms of each
student developing some islands of expertise. Some of these islands of
expertise are decided upon by the educational system, and some by the
student. (See http://iae-pedia.org/Education_for_Increasing_Expertise.)
For example, our current educational system believes that all students
should learn reading, writing, and math. Many students decide for
themselves that they want to develop better social skills, learn sports
and sports statistics develop skill in playing a variety of computer
games, and learn a lot about popular music performers and their music.
The idea of islands of expertise ties in well with the ideas of
student-centered education and empowering students. Computer technology
can play a major role in both of these important approaches to
wisest mind has something yet to learn." (George Santayana; Spanish and
American philosopher and novelist; 1863–1952.)
totality of human knowledge is growing quite rapidly. The growth rate
is often summarized by statements such as “doubling every five years”
or “doubling every 10 years.” Suppose, for example that it is doubling
every 10 years. Some people argue that it is doubling more rapidly and
the doubling time is decreasing. (See http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Georges-Anderla.)
A level, ten-year doubling time means that when a child born today
becomes 20 years old, the totality of human knowledge will be four
times what it is today. By the time this person is 40 years old, the
totality of human knowledge will be 16 times what it is today. (With a
five-year doubling time, that latter figure becomes 256.)
But even now, most of us feel like we suffer from an information
overload. This situation, which is steadily worsening, suggests that
good schools should:
- Place strong emphasis
on learning to learn and being a life long learner.
- Place strong emphasis
on just in time learning—learning what one needs to know shortly before
one needs to have the knowledge.
- Learning to make good
use of the steadily growing capabilities of “intelligent” machines.
See the free book:
Moursund, D.G. (2006). Brief introduction to educational implications
of artificial intelligence. Access at http://iae-pedia.org/David_Moursund_Books.