In an era of universal and instantaneous access to knowledge and of planetwide horizontal connections to leverage expertise, learning without teaching is not only sterile and potentially meaningless, but forgoes the closing of positive feedback loops and misses the virtuous cycle that further spreading of knowledge and experience allows.
We are bombarded by many different messages, and stimulated with information coming from various sources covering the spread subjects, on a daily basis. Our social networks make it easy to forward the posts or to simply give a thumbs up of support. Next from this fairly passive manner of absorbing information comes the possibility to comment on individual pieces of news. But the first really valuable component is to correlate, contextualize and to derive potentially novel interpretations, based on our understanding.
Additionally to theoretical musings and armchair expertise building, thanks in large part to the inspiration and examples of the maker movement we now understand that for most of the activities there are almost zero barriers to entry. Understanding how 3D printing works, experimenting with Bitcoin, or applying the methods of the quantified self to our health only needs us to stop being passive, go in a FabLab, install and learn to use a simple app or buy a wearable health sensor for $50 or so.
What we learn through the correlation of information, and through hands on experimentation can be immediately described and communicated. That is why I like the Facebook groups like “The Internet of Money” or “Network Society Project“: they allow anybody interested in these topics to learn and in turn share what they gained and experienced. There are of course hundreds of thousands of groups on Facebook and millions of communities on other platforms that allow this type of active participation.
Overcoming barriers to communication and participation is not only a question of becoming active, it can also require eliminating objective obstacles. With Dotsub, which I led as CEO for four years and now as Chief Innovation Officer, the opportunity is there for anybody to communicate online using video, the most powerful medium we currently have, to anybody regardless their language. With Dotwords, which I founded last year, using modern tools and in a lean and technologically sound fashion this becomes available in any medium!
1 thought on “What did you teach today?”
You’re so right – except maybe about dates: when I was in high school almost half a century ago, our class had set up a cascading “mutual tutoring where the best student in one matter would coach the next best ones who’d coach the rest. And we shared notes too.
But granted, we were a rather oddball class, a mixture of leftists – those of us who knew Spanish took turns sight-translating Granma articles for others during breaks between lessons – and scouts-of-the-non-paramilitary-ilk. So yes, when online social media came about, I thought “Great, I wish we’d had that when I was a student” (and nowadays, non Spanish speaking teens could read and share Granma articles in English, French, German, Italian and Portuguese on their cell phones too…)
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