Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ask Twitter 2: Information Overload

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a question I was asked and included some of the replies I got to the question when I shared it with my Twitter contacts (Ask Twitter: Mobile phones in education).

Information Overload
Originally uploaded by Monster.
Another question sent by text was: "Do you think the 'c' generation are at risk from communication overload?".

My response was:
I think we're all at risk... but as I said in the lecture, it is a risk we can't avoid. The children in school today have never known a time without the World Wide Web. The amount of information created every year is growing exponentially. That's the world they live in. The questions is therefore not "Are they at risk from information overload?" but rather, "How do we help them thrive in an information rich environment?" There are at least three responses: 1) Head in the sand 2) Headless chicken 3) Education I know which one I favour. :-)

A student added the following to my answer:

Perhaps the most important thing we can teach is how to apply sensible mental filters to the abundance of information out there. For instance, which sources are more likely to be reliable than others.

I thought I'd try Twitter again to get a wider range of views. Again, my comments and additions are shown in curly brakets.

derekrobertson @daviddmuir if the pseudo science brain people are correct they are only using 25% of their brains at the minute so plenty of capacity left!
{I suspect Derek was not being entirely serious. :-)}

islayian @davidDmuir According to Gardner in 5 minds for the future. Synthisizing is one of the most imortant skills we must develop 2:00 PM Oct 23rd

lynnehorn @DavidDMuir I'd like them to learn how to use all the communication things they have to learn as well as socialise 2:10 PM Oct 23rd

lynnehorn @DavidDMuir I think they need to know how to share that information appropriately in good ways,just started wikis to try and get them to 2:14 PM Oct 23rd
{Ah! The perils of the text limit in Twitter!}
lynnehorn @DavidDMuir to collaborate on homework tasks. 2:14 PM Oct 23rd

parslad @DavidDMuir To function efficiently in free market, one needs to expose oneself to the risk of overload, or pay someone to sift for them! 2:35 PM Oct 23rd

joecar @DavidDMuir easy to say yes but actually all this new info comes with filters bloglines google reader and you can still switch off

blethers @DavidDMuir ..Only if they succumb. Moderation in all things... And maybe it's part of education to make sure they handle it? 3:09 PM Oct 23rd

JConnell @DavidDMuir sorry David - got too many RSS feeds to read to be able to answer you ;-) 4:54 PM Oct 23rd
{It took me a while to get this... then I laughed out loud. Own up... how long did it take you?}
JConnell @ DavidDMuir ... seriously tho - teaching kids to filter intelligently is a massive issue 4:58 PM Oct 23rd

So, that's my reply and thoughts from Twitter. What do you think?


mimanifesto said...

I'd have commented David, but not only is twitter blocked in my schools, but also I have to wait until I'm home before reading your musings and questions...but, fear not..a new Nokia n96 arrives this weekend together with an unlimited monthly browsing add on to my contract !!

I will be there for your next tutorial based live action 'twit-in'

David said...

A "twit-in"! Not sure I like the sound of that. :-)

Colin Schafer..... said...

Here's a thought about Twitter, filters and the fact that on the internet no-one knows you're a dog... with the exception of David, I have no idea who anyone of the other posters are. They may well be educators or maybe students or maybe working teachers or pupils or... what else?
An adult may judge a contributor's credibility on the persuasiveness of an argument and the fluency if its prose. A child may not have the same ability and may judge every contributor taking part to carry the same weight. How do we address this, especially when the adults conceal their real identities? The anonymity of many of these applications has, for my money, some serious disadvantages.

Joe said...

Question was posed I believe in regard to big people - who still need credibility filters.

For young people in schools imperative that they are taught how to filter information. Don't believe all you Google.

Anonymity can be good and bad. You can cite web references. What would the press and news be without anonymous sources.

Think there is still presumption in last posting that tutor is font of all knowledge

Chris said...

I think we have to keep in the front of our minds the fact that this is the way things are - and we're going to have more, not less, communication in the future (unless, of course, we're reduced to huddling over fires of old books and haven't the time or energy to communicate with anyone) Surely all this comes under the umbrella of educators?

I can't help thinking how different life might have been if I'd tried to protect my children from too much communication...

Colin Schafer..... said...

@ Joe
I can assure you, you think wrong :)

@ all
Which helps to illustrate my point - on the basis of a handful of posts (maybe even as few as one), an assumption has been made about what I think. Maybe I didn't express myself clearly (but maybe I *am* a dog), the point is that a judgement has been made about my values, my assumptions. Without the context of more traditional relationships, we all share this problem and, to go back to my comments from the previous thread, the immediacy of Twitter is not necessarily a good thing - it's too easy to go "Ready, fire, aim".