These days, wherever you look, everyone seems to be gazing at some kind of an handheld device. It’s now very easy to make trivial comments about trivial, however the future of technology and information is anything but trivial.
While we grapple with devices, interfaces and screens in our daily lives, the futurists tell us that we will be our technology, and information will be who we are and what it made us.
As the fast-paced technological changes take place - for example, the increasing the web of data and the seemingly endless social connections - the value of information as knowledge remains the core business of information professionals.
The 'Fourth Revolution', proposed by Luciano Floridi in his article for The Philosopher's Magazine, describes the current information age, an era in which our understanding of both self and world is significantly altered by sudden changes in the information climate and which are directly attributable to the advent of computing machinery from Alan Turing (1912-1954) onwards.
As curators of knowledge the burning question for information professionals in this fourth revolution undoubtedly lies in the ongoing ability to manipulate and manage the information flow.
The digital revolution has given us instant communication and easy global connectedness, with mobile technology and its influences in particular growing at pace – in 2013, there are almost as many mobile-cellular subscriptions as people in the world. This digital transformation has produced some extraordinary tools for flexible learning, which are exciting for both students and staff, and promise new and innovative methods of teaching. However, these tools can also be incredibly daunting and challenging for educators.
In A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change, Doug Thomas and John Seely Brown, explain how much the Internet has changed the way we think about both technology and information. In this new culture of learning, information technology has become a participatory medium, giving rise to an environment that is constantly being changed and reshaped by the participation within information spaces. They argue that traditional approaches to learning are no longer capable of coping with this constantly changing world. Teachers no longer need to scramble to provide the latest up-to-date information to students because the students themselves are able to take an active role in helping to create and mould it, particularly in areas of social information.
To support and nurture learning in these evolving environments is a challenge, and why using digital mediums to communicate, collaborate, and curate in the management and dissemination of information is important. Library and information science, academic and professional, development programs should be designed to enhance personal professional networks and personal learning conversations.
(Image Credit: William Iven at www.unsplash.com)