Monday, 24 October 2011

If the accident will (ii)

What follows is a small example of what happened when 'the accident' did.

It began with two Tweets.

The first was by Carl Dowse recommending The Shallows by Nicholas Carr.

As so often with my PLN, the second Tweet had actually come first.

It was by Maria Popova and led me to her marvellous site describing books on the future of the internet.

This is typical of the recursive trajectory described by manoeuvring around a PLN.

It takes one Tweet to make an itch, but a second to make me want to scratch it.

In a very 20th century way, I then began to read the book of The Shallows.

This describes how the internet is changing the way we think, both literally and metaphorically, changing us into permanently distracted beings with a limited capacity for profound thought.

This idea overlapped with an excellent post by Scott Thornbury on zero uncertainty and a comment on that post by Luiz Otavio Barros in which he avers that because of the way the internet is changing how we think, extended checking for gist tasks are annoying to learners at best and missing the point at worst.

Everyone is extremely skilled at top-down processing because that is what the hyperlink culture of the internet encourages; it is the bottom-up processing that we are unable to do effectively anymore.

I was reminded of all this when I saw a FastCoDesign tweet referencing the work of Nicholas Felton, the man behind the new design of Facebook.

Felton's design is avowedly more synchronic than the previous diachronic design, and, as such, epitomises and contributes towards the trend for a new type of thinking.

All of which brought me to my original post on the topic and my on-going concern that the way learners learn is changing, and so the way they are taught will have to change too.

This, then, is how a PLN works for me: it is not taking me on a journey from A-B, but delineating the ideas and mental apparatus which I use to evaluate my work, my profession, and the other ideas and tools I come across while trying to augment both.

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