12 Jun 2018

IMPACT OF UNLIMITED INFORMATION ACCESS TO LEARNING

Unlimited access to information forces teachers to give up a fantasy of total control of a discipline as well as the pretense that we can cover every aspect within an area of study. The information explosion forces us to recognize that information is not knowledge until human minds receive it, shape it, and reflect on it. Good teachers make it possible for those they teach to cope with the fear of too much data by helping them be more reflective about what knowledge is and preparing them to turn information, opinion, and experience into knowledge.

In recent years technological developments in information science have revolutionized the ways in which information is stored, manipulated, distributed and used. In a few years information from almost any location, using any source, and on almost any topic will be easily and quickly accessible. The concern will no longer be “How can we get enough information?” on any subject but rather “How can we sort through all that information to find what we really need?”

The effects these developments in information technology have had and will continue to have on libraries — on their administration, their finances, their personnel, indeed, on their very role in academe — have been discussed at length. Their effects on aspects of college and university administration — on the design and construction of buildings, on-campus communication systems, on financial administration, for example — have also been discussed widely, both in the professional literature and at conferences. The impact of this information revolution on scholarly research and publishing has also received a good bit of attention, but what has not been discussed very much are the implications for what goes on in college classrooms, for the teaching/learning process.

The Internet gives students instant access to answers beyond what’s in their textbooks. In fact, today’s kids are already familiar with “Googling-it” to find answers to questions. The gift of the internet to the classroom gives teachers the chance to give their students a holistic view of any given subject while still giving students the guidance to find the right sources. In-classroom internet research gives teachers the opportunity to teach their students how to assess the quality of the information they find online while removing the one-sided restrictions of a textbook.

 In today’s world, everything you do seems to depend upon technology. People see more than 34 billion bits of information per day and are connected to some technology device up to 12 hours a day! This much information can cause people to feel overwhelmed and decrease productivity.

Technological determinism suggests that technology drives the user rather than users drive the technology. Not so. Is more technology always better? Educators need to establish firm, clear, non-technical guidelines that institutions can use as they make decisions about a constantly evolving array of computer hardware and software. Organizational factors, which are within teachers’ control, play a more significant role in determining the effects of technology than does the technology itself.

Unlimited access to information forces teachers to give up a fantasy of total control of a discipline as well as the pretense that we can cover every aspect within an area of study. The information explosion forces us to recognize that information is not knowledge until human minds receive it, shape it, and reflect on it. Good teachers make it possible for those they teach to cope with the fear of too much data by helping them be more reflective about what knowledge is and preparing them to turn information, opinion, and experience into knowledge.

 

 

Article by: Busayo Tomoh

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