Noted author James Gleick has written a book about the history of information which suggests that we are facing a tsunami of useless information. The following is from a CNN interview on his book The Information:
When I started writing the book, seven years ago, the initials T.M.I. stood for "transmarginal inhibition" or "Texas Military Institute" or "Three Mile Island."And so, while I've not read the book, you can see that there is a difference between information and knowledge.
I don't need to tell you what TMI means now; every teenager knows. Yet it's a paradox: how can there be too much information when information is what we want, what we value, what we live for? We feel deluged -- unable to process it all, unable to find knowledge.
Schools are really great about pushing information. But where does knowledge come into play? If if there is knowledge, is there also a thing we might aspire to that has been called wisdom? Information can be easily quantified and measured. We make the hollow attempt to do the same thing with knowledge, but wisdom only becomes apparent in the long term. There is no direct scale for its measure.
The other day I did a post, Hold with one hand and slice carefully with the other, which is not just about the hands. In fact the brain is also divided left and right but cross laterally, so the right brain controls the left hand and vice versa. And so, while it is popular to think of ourselves as right or left brained, they do work in tandem. I had done an even earlier post about bird brains which can be found here, and which may help you to better understand the essential relationship between left and right. It may also help provide some insight into the tsunami. How can we be so terrified, and yet so enthralled with nature's power?
Schools do a very poor job of integrating left and right. Students have bodies that also long to be educated. They have creative, investigatory spirits that long to be set loose on the world, rather than restrained in deluge of TMI. Early educators saw the need to educate the whole child. But it is hard to measure the whole child. We can place performance marks on a wall, and we can compare those makings over the course of our children's lifetimes. But there are things beyond measure that are even more important to our children's success, and we forget that our teachers are teaching those things as well.
Make, fix and create. Just as these things will take both hands, they also require both hemispheres of the brain. By turning our schools into workshops and laboratories, we restore their spirit.