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5 July 2006 / erikduval

David Wiley @ ICALT

David Wiley opened the afternoon at ICALT, on the theme of “openness and the future of education”. One starting point was the observation that our current technology is largely sufficient, but that we need to consider more deeply what do we do with it. This is somewhat similar to the “The future has already arrived, it is just not evenly distributed” theme that I often refer to.

The way education is making use of technology reminds David of a straightforward transfer of what you learned for waterpolo to horse polo: as a result, many of us are swimming on horse backs 🙂 !

At some point, David made a side remark of how a “lower case semantic web” can be reaslised now already through folksonomies and RSS – a nice contrast with Gilbert’s presentation in the morning – and much closer to my own approach to Doing Good Things.

For David, openness is crucial because you can’t connect to or personalize something if you don’t have access to it and you can’t create if you don’t have an outlet. I agree, but I also believe that we need to be a bit more specific when we use terms like “openness”.

Another position we agree on, it that content is just infrastructure, a prerequisite for but not innovation itself: the slogan I use for that is “if we share, we’re halfway there“. The slogan illustrates quite well that sharing content is not enough (only halfway), but quite useful (at least, it gets us halfway there).

Interesting tidbits that David mentioned:

  • in under 18 months, PLoS Biology went from non-existent to number 1 in ISI’s impact ratings – 13.9!
  • 35% of MIT’s incoming class said OCW played a significant role in them choosing MIT…

David ended mentioning that “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste” – if there is an opportunity, then we shouldn’t waste it!

Maybe most remarkable of all, there were full 10 minutes left for discussion! As Paul mentioned, most keynoters get 45 minutes and take 60 🙂 There’s an important lesson for me there…


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