The transition from a world where information, knowledge and teachers are scarce to a world where they are abundant certainly affects domains that traditionally served as “information transfer hubs”, aka…schools.
While not so long ago, a simple question of a curious teenager might have remained unanswered due to a lack of available books in the school library or because it didn’t match a teacher’s field of expertise, answers now are just a Google search away. Web 2.0-platforms enable students to exchange study materials along with facts, ideas and knowledge – be it on purpose or merely unintended. (Note that the dinosaur of Social Media, Facebook, originally served as communication platform for Harvard students.) Massive Open Online Courses and Open Universities like awesome Udacity enable 16- and 60-year-olds equally to sign up for a class in Computer Sciences at the breakfast table and execute their first self-coded program before dinner.
The abundance of information is obvious to schools that have to cope with the omnipresence of Google and slowly understand that a search engine is not a bigger, better and faster library catalogue, but something genuinely different. It is also obvious to teachers who struggle to come up with explanations why students have to reproduce by heart what can be retrieved with two clicks on a smartphone. Yet, another characteristic is rather overlooked: While not so long ago, information was scarce, it was also usually edited. The information that is available in abundance now, however, is usually unedited and it’s up to everyone to make sense of all the content that surrounds us – or to drown in an overflow that is rich in information and poor in meaning.
For more interesting ideas about the role of school in the age of information, read this interview on TED Blog where eBook author Will Richardson challenges the traditional education model or get inspired by Rob Nail, CEO of Singularity University and his thoughts on education.
This familiar feeling of INSTANITY – “everything now” will be omnipresent in a few days at the TEDxVienna-conference, dedicated to the term derived from “instant” and “insanity”. Various aspects of what INSTANITY can mean or look like will be discussed by our extraordinary speakers. And there will be even more awesome things to experience and to let every conference guest actively participate in the event…here are just a few highlights:
Our friends from Metalab, Vienna’s prominent hacker space – an open center for people who do creative things with technology – will showcase some of their imaginative projects, from gadgets to tech-art.
The book swap is a literally “materialistic” exchange of ideas worth sharing: What we need from you is to bring along one book you’ve read (and enjoyed) that you want to share with an unknown person at the conference. We will set take your book at the entrance of the conference and set up a book swap booth where you can grab a new one. Don’t forget to write a dedication to the new owner!
We also know that all of our attendees are inspiring brave thinkers. Therefore, we’ll have a special corner set with a camera where each of you will get the chance to present your idea worth spreading. You’ll get three minutes. After the event we will let the community decide on which of the persons presenting will get to do it on the stage at one of our upcoming events. How awesome is that? So besides the book, be sure to bring your most inspiring ideas along.
TEDxVienna: Instanity is taking place next Saturday, November 3rd, at Odeon Theater in Vienna.