The Changing Shape of Information

Last week, at the Illinois Technology Conference for Educators (IL-TCE), I said something that I wish now, I hadn’t said. It sounded kinda mean, now that I think back on it. The session was called, Right & Wrong on the Information Highway, and I started it off by playing the EPIC 2014 video and then asking the audience to share their reactions to the program, in light of the ethical skills we should be teaching our students.

Their were a large number of librarians in the audience, and I entertained several long and passionate pleas of preference for the dependable information that can be found in books. I said, regretfully, but with some apology, that the book’s days may be numbered. I expressed my preference that we continue to have books for a long long time, that they are part of my heritage as well as the heritage of our children. However, it is our children’s future that we are preparing them for, and it is a future that they will be choosing.

What I was really trying to convey to the audience, was that what we look at is not our most important concern, as information specialists — educators. The change that is affecting the greatest impact on every aspect of our jobs is the changing nature of information. Largely because of ICT, information is increasingly digital, networked, and overwhelming. In addition (and more recently), the increased practice of information tagging and XML have further transformed information into something that is for more shapeless, impossible to freeze and contain, less dependable, and, yet, more valuable.

CUE ConferenceI’ll be talking about “Harnessing the Changing Shape of Information” the end of this week at the California Computer Using Educators (CUE2006) conference in Palm Springs. Unfortunately, I’ll only be there for a few hours, but hope to see and chat with many of my California friends while I’m there.

4 thoughts on “The Changing Shape of Information”

  1. So glad you will be preseenting at this conference — I truly can’t wait.

    Hopefully we will have good weather for you. Right now they are predicting rain — hard rain — for Wednesday on.

    I know you shall be in a flurry with everyone wanting to say HI — so I will say my Hi’s to you now — and I shall have my pod and camera to record what you share!!!

    and again — I AM GLAD you will be speaking at Palm Springs CUE.


  2. As always, I enjoy reading your posts and accessing the way you think.
    I appreciate your concern for educators, be they librarians, ed technologists, parents, administrators or classroom teachers. I have been exploring the idea of re-visioning the role of colleges of education. Too often colleges focus on educating or training teachers to be technicians rather than designers. Approaching teaching and learning as a designer gives a whole new meaning to what a learning environment is perceived as.
    Am curious to hear/read what you think about this concept.
    Is this a realistic expectation?

  3. David,

    From the little bit that I know of you, I know it certainly wasn’t meant in a mean way. Deep down in that bad place in my mind that I don’t let out, I often want to scream that there will be plenty of time for all of us to learn about new tools and ways of teaching after we all lose our jobs because schools are shut down from a failure to adapt to a changing environment.

    I too have said that the days for books are numbered. explores the history and future of books as an information storage technology. Books have had a 2000 year run as the primary storage medium, but as you say we have to remember that they are just the tool to store and recall the information. It is the information, the stories, that are critical.

    I always cringe when people say they cannot imagine bringing a laptop to bed with them. I usually end up having to pull out my Palm and show them that the print isn’t “too small” and it’s not “too awkward” and hey…it autoscrolls and has a built in booklight! Revolution tends to be a bit slow when you are reaching one person at a time, though.

    Now the real question is, will this be part of your discussion at ALA/AASL? =)

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