Robert Cailliau, co-developer of the WWW, acted as Provocateur for Session 1. His aim was to explore emerging trends in a connected world and to delve into concepts of knowledge explosion and the ability of an individual’s brain.
I enjoyed listening to his session, in particular his ‘take’ on ideas and issues that have significant relevance to our work in education. He has, of course, an in-depth and longstanding understanding of ICT and ‘informatics’.
How will people cope with the world as it might be a decade from now, if that means ever more informatics and ever more ‘intertwinglings?
Interestingly he focused on science as a research tool, and the relationship between science and common sense. He suggests that the use of common sense in daily life is the norm, but the scientific approach focuses on observation of facts, formulation of hypothesis, predictions, hypothesis etc. He also recommends that scientific methods should be the basic tool for all thinking. We should use scientific methods and common sense in all subject matter, not just in science classes – BECAUSE – thinking is very ‘effort-full’.
However, Robert seemed to focus on science research as an empirical tool and did not include qualitative research processes, evidence-based practice, and evaluation as a process approach of change. Measurement tools of social research can enable thinking and conversation in order to create deeper understanding of our actions and our learning endeavors.
Robert reminded us that knowledge is increasingly becoming more difficult for the average brain to understand – things we know that the average person cannot grasp – e.g. quantum mechanics. There are things that cannot easily be explained, discussed, etc
Overall the audience was following his words closely – and his reference to SecondLife and other tools from a Web 2.0 environment was good to hear. However, his ‘take’ on SecondLife was rather skewed I thought. OK, only a few hands went up to the question ‘who has an avatar in second life’. Robert said that people go into interactive virtual worlds in SecondLife because
- People don’t like the real world
- Imagination is better
- It can now be yours to build!
He then asked
Will education cope with people who are increasingly disinterested in the real world?
Oh dear – a very bad representation of the potential of SecondLife environments, and no recognition of the valuable education uses for which SecondLife is already being used.
So finally, because we will have to save the planet…keep learning and developing…we can only do this with
Real knowledge, good tools, and good leadership