Never in all of human history has it been so easy to express yourself. A person can take a video of their cat dunking its head under a water faucet (watch it here) and in 6 days as of 9/14/09 it has been watched 884,501 times. The total publishing cost was zero. Two students from MIT took pictures from space using a weather balloon, a parachute, and a GPS cell phone texting them the camera’s location. Total cost = $148 dollars. (see it here) Our media tools are getting exponentially more powerful, exponentially faster, and the cost is dropping exponentially. This leads me to several interesting conclusions.
1. As the barriers of entry continue to drop the amount of content will increase at a faster and faster rate. The more content that is around then the more raw materials producers will have to work with and the more ideas can be tried.
2. Because the internet fosters a high degree of anonymity, content producers can feel a high degree of freedom to experiment with new things. Failure is mostly a subjective thing online. Almost everyone can find an audience for their work if they look for one.
3. Good ideas are shared around at Internet speed. This can be virtually overnight. We are entering an era where you can share ideas with the world almost as fast as you can think them (or tweet them). What you are looking at is what Josh Hallet talked about in his interview video where he said is on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” the crowd is right about 91% of the time. I had noticed this. We have never had the capability to apply so much brain power to a problem at once. Not only that, but this knowledge is captured in net search engines and so becomes a potentially valuable reference. This body of information is not necessarily knowledge however. There is a difference between information and knowledge. I like how Daniel Socaco put it on his blog: “It is very important to have this difference clear, specially in our Internet-based society. Today information is freely available to anyone anywhere in the world. An eighteen year old boy from the [sic] Sri Lanka could easily search on the web and find all the information ever produced about an Adenoidectomy. But I am not sure whether I would like to have this same boy performing that surgery on myself…(Socaco, 2006)”.
4. These good ideas can be very disruptive to the status quo. This is because ideas come in two types. Evolutionary and revolutionary. Evolutionary means an idea is gradually improved over time. However, on the internet that time can be very quick indeed. Revolutionary ideas generally come about when one has complete freedom to think outside the box. This condition happens on the Internet right now. Again, this is very quick. A brilliant idea can be distributed to the world overnight.
Very rapid ideas lead to rapid change. This rapid change is the catalyst for disruptions to the status quo.
What this means for Education is quite game changing. Professor Clayton M. Christensen has written several books on Disruptive Innovation. He recently was interviewed about how this can apply to Education. “In education, this will mean that the tools of the software platform will make it so simple to develop online learning products that students will be able to build products that help them teach other students. Parents will be able to assemble tools to tutor their children. And teachers will be able to create tools to help the different types of learners in their classrooms. (Christensen, 2008)
On the internet those will media savvy will be the quick, those without it will be the dead.