Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dealing with Internet

The Internet is considered a disruptive technology.  We have all changed our habits as the result of its adoption and progression in our society.  A new article by Jeff Jarvis, "Not So Fast," that appeared on the blog, Think With Google (, makes a parallel with Gutenberg's invention - the printing press -- and all the structures that it disrupted over time.  He cites changes, due to the Internet, for:
  • Retail
  • Postal services
  • Newspapers & magazines
  • Government
Try the new book, "Too Big to Know," by David Weinberger and follow the conversation that was started by the University of Southern Denmark, called "the Gutenberg parenthsis."  The most important lines, to me, in this article are: "this change in our mental map of information affects our cognition of our world... how we understand the world around us is evolving..."

Find & Learn - all about the very new dynamic in finding information, digesting and learning from it, and moving on.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Think About Searching, #2

How we think about searching and how we think about thinking is wrong.  Given the perspectives that come from recent research on decision-making, the conventional wisdom is wrong.  Our tendency on how to decide is backwards.  The easy problems should be carefully thought through - rationalize it.  The complex problems should be intuitive - but with a twist.  The books such as Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow say: "think less about those items that you care a lot about and don't be afraid to let your emotions choose."  But for these problem, first we gather information, reflect on it, then decide.  We often leave out step 2: allowing ourselves the time to reflect, mull, and sleep on it.  The research shows that the intuitive side of our brain (some would call it emotions), is really smart, can digest huge amounts of information and can make an 'informed' decision.  Think about it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Critical Thinking Discussions

No topic is more discussed in education than critical thinking.  It certainly meshes with information seeking as any search involves critical thinking.  An Educause Quarterly article by Carol MacKnight profiles teaching methods and online learning (no.4 (2000), p.38+).  Some of the statements made in this article point to the Big Questions list I just posted - about dealing with information in today's intense environment.  Her statements:

  1. "The amount of information we receive daily increasing at an unimaginable rate."
    • Yes, we have data, but we don't have answers.
  2. "To build on what we already know, however, requires critical thinking.  Otherwise, we may fall prey to modern communication media, which present a world where the prepackaging of intellectual positions and views is so ingenious that thinking seems unnecessary."
    • Media literacy and the need to be savvy consumers of media
  3. "Collaborative learning claims that the active exchange of ideas within small groups not only increases interest among the participants but also promotes critical thinking."
    • We need to do this together.  Searching is a group activity.  Dialogue with the resource itself and dialogue with each other.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Think About Searching (#1)

New series: derived from my reading about decision-making theory and the new books about the findings on neuroscience experiments.

Best quote I found, I paraphrase from Herbert Simon, Nobel Laureate psychologists:
"The human mind is like a pair of scissors.  One blade is the brain and the other is the specific environment you are grappling with."  Be careful where you clip!

How we search and seek information should depend on the context and the WHAT of our searching topic.  Each search is different.  Each search proceeds differently.  Not all searches can start and end with an entry of a string of words into the Google box.  We should be aware of the kind of search we are making and the kind of information searching decisions it requires.  Yes, we should Think about Searching.  This new tact alone could really change the success rate and the time savings of your searches.  Keep reading.