I've been seeing more and more stuff about education, alternate education, & unschooling and it's inriguing me. It started with personal questions about the suitability of normal schooling for kids of various ages that I know and know about. But what's catching my eye is that, beyond the growing body of anecdotal and personal discussions here , here , and here, about whether school really works for enough kids, there is a really serious set of academic discussion growing around the fact that children seem to be able to learn how to use modern digital tools without being taught.
Is the need to teach and be taught specific to manual tools and analog information? Do hyperlinked tools that contain their own information break that paradigm?
I'm not a educator, per se. I don't have pedagogical training. But I'm working on a new information-library thesis for a future library conference about irrelevancy (more about that later) and I thought it was unrelated. Now, I'm starting to think all this is related. I know I'm not the only one. Colleagues are also puzzling about this.
Last spring I quoted David Weinberger's : "The property of knowledge as a body of vetted works comes directly from the properties of paper. Traditional knowledge has been an accident of paper." Another way of saying that is that knowledge as we had understood it was a feature of paper-based information. I'm now wondering if this goes further. Is our understanding of how to teach and how to learn a feature of the tools and information sources that powered the industrial age. Does it all change when tools and information are contained within each other, are essentially inseparable, and are part of a huge network of related tools and information?