Quotation: "Our ability to produce, consume and distribute knowledge in an unlimited, unfiltered, and immediate way is the primary reason for the changes we see today... With just a computer and access to the Internet, one can view or consume an almost unimaginably diverse array of information and points of view" (Thomas & Brown 51). Despite all of the things that Star Trek got right (which was a surprising amount all things considered) they missed the huge effect that a planet wide communication and computational system would have on society. Where past ages have been defined by some tangible discovery like bronze and iron, our most recent age is being shaped by information. And we have a lot of it.
Question: Is it even possible to harness students use of technology to funnel them towards state standards without stifling their ability to be truly creative?
Connection: To echo statements that I have made elsewhere, and many other people have said in many other places, including Will Richardson in "Why School?". The problem is no longer that we don't have enough information, its that there is too darn much of it. Trying to find information on most topics is like drinking from a firehose. So much so that I am reminded of a bit of advice I saw recently on twitter:
Quotation: "Almost every difficult issue we face today is a collective, rather than a personal, problem. And approaching some of our biggest challenges- whether financial, environmental, or health-care related- in terms of the collective has led to the development of meaningful solutions" (Thomas & Brown 59). By working together we can tackle bigger problems than we can handle alone. Which is good because the problems we face today sometimes seem very large.
Question: How can I help students understand how they should interact and participate meaningfully in appropriate collectives?
Connection: A while ago I read a book called Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart, that talks about the emerging systems that are using to vast amount of information that is currently available to create solutions to problems that people didn't even know existed or that can do/predict things that are far beyond what even a highly-trained expert can do alone.
Epiphany: I am part of dozens of collectives! I'd never come across the concept of a collective before this reading and yet I've been participating in different collectives for work and play for years!
Quotation: "Inquiry is the process by which we ask not 'What is it that we know?' but 'What are the things that we don't know and what questions can we ask about them?'" (Thomas & Brown 83). We know a lot of things. I've spent my whole life learning things. But if I content myself with what I already know then that information dies because it is no longer a living, breathing, growing thing that is able to react to the world around it.
Question: How do I get my students to figure out what they know and leverage that into asking more about what they don't know?
Connection: I spent my senior year at CSUSM developing an Inquiry-based gas chromatography lab for use in a high school. It was an awesome opportunity to play around with some powerful instruments and learn what it takes to develop a lab for students. I've been trying to foster Inquiry-based learning since before I started the Credential program but I'm still learning about what true inquiry looks like.
Epiphany: I finally got a better definition for inquiry. I'm probably going to frame this quote somewhere.