Keynote: John Seely Brown #IL2011

Keynote: John Seely Brown, “chief of confusion” at USC, formerly at PARC, author of The New Culture of Learning and The Social Life of Information

I don’t know if I can do this talk justice. Brown talked about so many interesting trends that I sometimes had to stop and think about them rather than take notes.

People need to become “entrepreneurial learners.” Whereas the half-life of a stock or skill was 20-40 years, it’s now 5 years. So people need to keep learning. We are moving from stocks to flows of knowledge.

No fixed warrants (proofs) of skills or epistemological canons.

New dispositions (which are cultivated, not taught):

  • curiosity
  • questing
  • connecting

Moving from a Cartesian view of learning to a social view of learning.

Authority vs. timeliness. Comparing Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia is wrong-headed. You can’t read Wikipedia the same way. You have to look at the discussions to see what’s still contested.

Blogging is joint context construction (cf. Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic)

New book coming out: Too Big to Know by David Weinberger.

Collectives of learning on the Internet. Amateur astronomers, for example, have made some important discoveries.

Entrepreneurial learners are master makers and tinkers.

Meaning emerges as much from context as content.

Not only Homo Sapiens (man the knower), but also Home Faber (man the maker) and Homo Ludens (man the player).

Have to tinker with technology. You will hate change if you don’t have effective strategies for dealing with it.

Moving from knowing what to knowing what and where to find out.

Moving from making things to making things and context.

Cultivating the imagination.

Networks of imagaination.

The global one-room schoolhouse.

Some of Brown’s ideas were developed in this 2008 Educause article. (Thanks to JeffatSCC for pointing this out.)

Here’s another account from the conference blog.

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