Learning in a Digital Age

Libraries and learning in general are undergoing a radical change. This past semester I presented a paper entitled “The Digital Incunabula” at Post. Very simply put, the presentation focused on how we are in the midst of a major change in communication, if you don’t think so just ask Mubarak.

This change is global and it is local. However, overall it affects us personally everyday. This column will focus on how that change is being implement in four areas: Hyper-Local, Local, National and Global. These areas all have issues concerning how we use technology to teach our children to take their place in a global economy and society.


I will look to find and interview students and teachers in Huntington to see how they are using this new technology to learn better and to actually enter this new digital world. We all see those commercials with school kids talking around the world. Personally I use iChat video on my simple 6 year-old laptop to communicate with my International students over semester breaks. It is free and dependable. In class I just hook up the teacher’s computer to the projector use a pair of $20 dollar speakers and voila – the class is global. Well, what does it take to accomplish these feats of global initiatives? Do we need millions of dollars in a technology budget or is it just the passion to do it? Is it worth it and how difficult is it? Remember money doesn’t always provide solutions – passion does (IMHO).


What are other schools doing around the Island and do our schools provide these services as well? Now this doesn’t mean, “if Johnny ran around with scissors we should also” but it may be best to see what the heck Johnny is doing first?  Why – because sooner or later Johnny is going for the same interview on the same day at the same college/company as our little precious Tyler?


Well what is being implemented nationally to help our students and are we part of that plan? Are colleges requiring a digital application? Is a video bio a good thing? What skill sets do our children need to get into and be successful in college today? Can they compete in that classroom when they graduate K-12? Do they actually know how to properly research (major plug for the library here.) Better yet, are they being shown how to use digital sources; eBooks, etc. and the Internet (BTW – the Web is dead) to do research and to gather materials? A piece of colored yarn on the edge of your construction paper cover doesn’t cut it anymore.


Where are we globally? After all we all know that it is no longer a Mom and Pop world, hey just look at Main Street in Huntington. More stores are for rent than I have ever seen before. Business is global and we need to know how we are preparing our children for that future. When they leave the hallowed halls of academia will they be that old Abbott and Costello joke? “Did you go to school, stupid?” – “Yeah and I came out the same way”…

Why can’t Johnny blog?

At the end of their educational journey will our children be ready and properly prepared to enter and succeed in a global marketplace? Education by itself is a necessary and wonderful thing, critical thinking can never be replaced by technology, just doesn’t work. I myself use minimal technology in my lectures -however, I shudder to think how I could properly discuss issues without being able to display and discuss via video, articles, and interviews.

“Because I said so…” doesn’t work today, nor should it ever have. Can you imagine Socrates pulling that one? Concretes change daily. The only benefit that form of thinking or teaching ever did was stunt the student into being quiet and not asking the question. Imagine a world where Jobs, Wozniak, Gates, and Adele Goldberg (you don’t know her? well you’re in luck here’s the link to her bio http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/muiseum/goldberg/goldberg_page.htm ) never got an answer to their question? Actually that may be the reason why they became who they are today?

Hey, sheepskin worked at the start, but even the Monastic scholars upgraded to Papyrus 2.0, isn’t it about time we did?