IL 2011: Monday Keynote

I’m at Internet Librarian 2011 and will be blogging all (or most) of the sessions I attend.

Information & Learning For the Future
John Seely Brown, Author – A New Culture of Learning

Skills & social practices evolve around new tech. used to be plenty of time for evolution, not so much today. Half-life of a skill has shrunk to about 5 years.  Going back to school is not really the solution anymore – need to constantly pick up new skills. (Libraries play a role here!)

Shift from stocks — set of assets trained in & used to the max, now flows – participating in flow of knowledge. Most knowledge isn’t codified – no time. Tacit knowledge. No time to built institutional warrants – can’t just look at the publisher to judge quality. New critical reasoning required. We know how to do this!

Carla Hesse quote on knowledge.

Who will be the mentors? “This requires more than just the skill of knowing how to learn.”

Entrepreneurial Learner

  • Curiosity – smartphones, ipads can amplify this
  • New approaches to learning

Used to be more Cartesian – won’t hack it today, though. Social view of learning. Not “I think, there for I am,” but “we participate, therefore we are.”

Single best indicator of success at college? Your ability to join or form study groups. (Study on this initially conducted @ Harvard, replicated elsewhere) Also works digitally! Doesn’t have to be face-to-face. Blogs, forums, FB, other communities of interest.

New practices

Wikipedia v Britannica – W about as accurate as B, etc etc. You need to develop a new reading practice to read Wikipedia. Look at edit page. What’s being contested, what’s been changed lately. “Wikipedia has opened up the back room of the Britannica.” We can see the arguments behind the scenes.

We used to focus on the content, assuming that the context was stable. In the world of social media? Context is more fluid than ever.

Article in the Atlantic (Andy Sullivan?) – blogging is joint context construction.

New David Weinberger book coming Jan 2012 – Too Big to Know

The internet is not just about finding the same stuff more easily.

Collectives – no demands on users, no tests, etc. Learning happens continuously around an interest (gardening, etc).

Entrepreneurial learners – “Master makers and tinkerers.” Make context as easily as content.

How do we bring knowing and making together? Making can be a convo or a paper, or a thing.

Change the music of a film and it can change its meaning as well as what you actually see. Similar to how radio can be more visual than TV.

“Crafting context is important for scaffolding meaning creation”

Contstant change – need to “regrind the conceptual lenses with which we make sense of the world” – how? Play! Allowed to fail repeatedly, just like sports.

“If you can construct an epiphany for a kid, it’ll be with that kid for life.”

Need to reframe.

Knowing – making – playing – via tinkering –> embracing change.

Anything new will have components that don’t work right. If your only response is to go to the manual for “the answer?” no good.

How do you productively tinker? Figure out repertoire of moves (like how a button changes function when held down longer) first.

School currently has heavy focus on knowing. Maybe a little on making, pretty much nothing on playing.  We need to refocus this in a more balanced way.


Knowing what –> knowing what & where (to find info)

Making things –> making things & making context

Sense making –> reframing (playing)

Networks of imagination –-> emerging from communities of interest, networks of practice. HP and WoW have this going on.

Learning happens where imagination plays