Kayaks and Canoes

We opened our team meeting today by viewing this TED Talk and talking about the future:

Transparency. Connectedness. Co-dependency.

And as we watched, I thought about how education seems to be lagging behind in even these first 5000 days.  While we don't still have the green screens that Kevin Kelly talks about - in many ways, education has barely even begun to tap the potential of the Web.

Then, by linking through a Twitter post to a blog, I found this amazing analogy on the Edge from George Dyson:

"In the North Pacific ocean, there were two approaches to boatbuilding. The Aleuts (and their kayak-building relatives) lived on barren, treeless islands and built their vessels by piecing together skeletal frameworks from fragments of beach-combed wood. The Tlingit (and their dugout canoe-building relatives) built their vessels by selecting entire trees out of the rainforest and removing wood until there was nothing left but a canoe.

The Aleut and the Tlingit achieved similar results — maximum boat / minimum material — by opposite means. The flood of information unleashed by the Internet has produced a similar cultural split. We used to be kayak builders, collecting all available fragments of information to assemble the framework that kept us afloat. Now, we have to learn to become dugout-canoe builders, discarding unneccessary information to reveal the shape of knowledge hidden within.

I was a hardened kayak builder, trained to collect every available stick. I resent having to learn the new skills. But those who don't will be left paddling logs, not canoes."

Which boat will you take to the future?


Mrs. Tenkely said...

It is incredible how quickly our world has changed in these 5,000 days. What is even more incredible is how we take all of it for granted, it really is amazing. We have access to information on demand (with mulitiple view points and commentary), communication and collaboration with the world instantaneously, and sharing of ideas and movements with a click. Wow! I love how Kelly talks about the way that we initially feel bad about Googling everything because we don't like that we are dependent on it. But what other "technologies" are we dependent on? The alphabet was once new technology, books, paper, telephones. We need to more fully embrace that the world is changing and learn how to interact with it appropriately. This is what we need to teach students. This is the world that they are living in and it is changing at an exponential rate.
I agree with your assessment, we havne't even begun to tap into the potential of the web in education.
Great analogy to add to the video and make me think critically about the world we find ourselves in. Thank you!

darlene said...

I think of all of the "stuff" in the reading series with this idea. It is like going shopping every time a teacher plans their week.