At another industry-organized symposium, we had experts in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ITC) studies lecture us on knowledge construction with new technologies. In summary, the speakers couldn't have devised a more balanced view on the topic.
Speaker 1, a science/math/aesthetics guru, told us there was "a lot of crap" out there on the Internet. Not that there wasn't a lot of crap in books either, but there's much more crap on the 'net since everybody can publish any nonsense they wanted, and the authority of a site's content depends on its ranking in search-engines which is determined by popularity rather than reasoned discourse.
Speaker 2, linguistics and research expert, said that we need to develop our students with stronger critical thinking and research skills so they can distinguish knowledge from scholarly knowledge. He showed us some examples that looked like fun discussions to have in tutorial -- can't wait to try them out. Hope the kids are feeling cooperative.
Speaker 3, ICT boffin, had lots of prizes to give away to people who responded to his questions about the interactivity of the 'net, and how we could use what's available (& free) on the 'net to make lesson time more practically useful and relevant to our plugged-in, multitasking, broadband, frivolous info sharing community generation. Idea being, if they can already share frivolous info, then why not make them share and interact and play with important info as well?
So: the 'net is full of crap, people need to be able to think through stuff for themselves, the 'net is great! I think I got it.
1 more thing among a number of others to meditate on for a month. Perhaps my not going away on holiday this year is a blessing in disguise after all?