Saturday, July 30, 2005

Going Home

Robert Paterson

Let’s start by looking at Google from this perspective of it being a Generative Space.

What do I mean by this? How would you define Google?

Many would label it a Search Engine. Is it an engine really? Does it act like a machine or does it act like an ecosystem? How does Google make its choices about how to answer your search? It finds the answers ranked on authority. Google defines authority by a combination of page views and links. This is an evolutionary process where the world votes on value and the pages with the most votes rank first. This is how nature works. Nature is blind to our prayers. Species and systems that do well pull ahead of those that do less well. Species and systems that cannot adapt to changes fall behind. There is no wizard behind a curtain moving any lever. There is only a competition for value.

Why Gmail and why Picasa. They are free. How can Google make money you ask? Google is using these services to create a larger ecosystem. The larger the ecosystem, the more valuable it becomes. All traders know that the key to success is having as much Flow as possible. Google’s leaders are after the network effect. They subscribe to Reed’s law where the greatest value possible exists in a facilitated community that scales in value at the rate of 2n. 2n is the most exponential curve in math.

They will overturn the vast world of marketing and advertising.

he idea that knowledge is an object is an industrial artifact. Knowledge is more than facts; it is about understanding and participation. Google enables you to find the best person and the best conversation. This is what is behind the marketing revolution. This is what is behind the impending revolution in education and health. Conversation is also the force behind the generation of a new community.

Google is the connective tissue that will make important conversations and communities the paramount places of informed power in the world and will put dogma back into the waste bin of history.

Once again we begin to experience the ecstasy of communion with our spiritual brothers and sisters. I use the word communion because community is now too pallid a feeling. I use the word ecstasy because that is the power of the feeling. No wonder Blogging is addictive. What could be more addictive that finding out who you are in communion with people that your trust completely? Your new identity as a human being emerges in the context of this community.

Our Great Return

We are going home again to the place where humans fit.

Just as people at the end of the Middle Ages rediscovered the wisdom of the Classic world, so we are re-discovering the experience of tribal life. I don’t mean by this that we will have to take up hunting and live in caves. For we have made a Great Return before and we know how it will play out. Renaissance men did not put on togas. What they did was to remember the wisdom of the classic world that had been forgotten in a millennium dark age and applied this wisdom to the world of their time. So, we too will begin to experience a new way of living and of being and apply this experience to our own time and to our own challenges.


We will be starting an Edu Filter soon with a core group of people that are writing well about what is going on with education generally, pedagogy, tools and issues. Advice from our readers is to start this core group a bit wider to ensure that we contain more diversity.

I am amazed by the consistency of views in this group about the need for more engagement as the core idea.

This convergence of view was reinforced when I spent a couple of hours with Etienne Wenger the other day when he visited PEI. Wenger's core insight is that an education is all about "Becoming a human being" He sees it as a pathway to identity. He acknowledges that we only find identity in the context of a field and a group. When we become expert and we are acknowledged as that by a group of peers, we find ourselves. This is why Oscar winner live longer than those who do not win. Why academics struggle to make it into their field. Why my son worked so hard on his skateboard. Why I blog?

Social Software is so helpful in this regard. Many of the group see some aspects of blogging being key in the new pedagogy.

The other comment of Wenger's that I liked a lot was his insight that to find ourselves, we have to go deep into a subject. School as it works now has many topics and it forces us to stay on the surface. What if we chose only one topic and went deep? What would we not learn as we became truly expert? If all you did was astronomy - would you not learn everything? If you had a choice as to what you were going to learn - would you not be motivated/

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