Like asking a 12-year old Kentuckian about international shipping routes, “[t]he questions these [science literacy] tests ask have absolutely no bearing on the kinds of scientific literacy needed today. The kind of understanding needed about alternative energy sources, food security or water management; things that actually relate to global challenges.” So, really, don’t feel too bad if you can’t finish your grandparent’s school exam—the fault lies more in outdated ideas of education than in your own knowledge base.

No, You’re Probably Not Smarter Than a 1912-Era 8th Grader | Smart News

“The biggest thing that’s happened to the role of CIO in the past few years is the consumerization of IT — which means that CIOs and their tech staff are no longer the tech gurus in any organization,” she said in an interview this week. that may be a tough pill to swallow, but smart CIOs will realize that her success now depends on forging relationships and to do that, people skills are absolutely necessary. “CIOs who believe they know better than everyone else get marginalized and those who don’t believe that aren’t running around worrying about their seat at the table” she said.

Hey CIOs, your role is changing. So get a move on and change already — Tech News and Analysis

One argument against liberal education is that it’s irrelevant. That objection is typically raised by people engaged in careers in business and allied techno-fields. Ask a typical business leader—especially one puffed up by entrepreneurial pride—what you want students to learn in college, and the answer often is: Identifying problems. But it turns out that liberal education is great for identifying problems. Take political philosophy, for example. It ‘s almost nothing but identifying problems, problems that admit of no easy or complete solutions. There are, for example, the problems of democracy, which are basically downsides that go with the democratic territory that can only be mitigated. And how to mitigate them is actually rather counterintuitive to those who don’t know a lot about and really reflected on the various democracies that have existed. The medicine for what ails democracy, for example, is hardly ever more democracy.

Liberal Education as Problem Identification: The Case of Elections | Rightly Understood | Big Think

Any company that isn’t primarily delivering its service via mobile five years from now will probably be irrelevant.

(via stoweboyd)

I think their decision to artificially promote Google Plus pages above more relevant pages on competing social networks is the modern-day equivalent of the ’90s era search engines turning their homepages into “portals”. A search engine should be designed to send users quickly and accurately away to whatever sites on the Internet they’re looking for. The ’90s-era search engine portals blew this, because the whole portal idea was to keep users on their sites rather than send them away. This Google Plus integration is the same thing — an attempt to keep users on Google.com for another page view or two.

Daring Fireball Linked List: Google’s Problem: Relevance

Exactly right. That’s what I meant when I wrote this a year ago. Google won search because they prioritized the best answer above anything else. They have crossed that line and it will hurt. 

(via bijan)

(via bijan)

Libraries: A Paper Wikipedia

“No Wikipedia, No fears…. The library is always here with all the answers you will ever need!” tweeted the staff at Temple University.

The librarians at Western Connecticut State University posted, “The library has plenty of online encyclopedias to help you survive today’s wikipedia blackout.”

And at Detroit’s Wayne State University, distraught students were encouraged by this message: “If you’re missing Wikipedia today, don’t forget that the library is always here to help you.”

» via Inside Higher Ed

High school students know that they will almost certainly be using computers in any desirable job that they manage to get after high school. They know that a computer is a requirement for success in today’s higher eduction environments. They know that, in the “real world”, college students don’t write papers in longhand on loose-leaf notebook paper; they know that, in the “real world”, people don’t create business presentations with markers and paste on poster board or tri-fold displays; they know that, “in the real world”, people who engage in any type of research may still occasionally use books, but they conduct the majority of their research using online tools. They know that, “in the real world”, bankers do not keep their accounts in paper ledger books, or do their financial forecasting only with the aid of a calculator. Yet high school students are regularly asked to write in longhand on notebook paper, make presentations using kindergarten tools, research mostly using books, and do their calculations on paper. Why should anyone be surprised that they don’t find their high school experiences “relevant”?

Alterdoxy: Secondary Education, Relevance, and 1:1 Computing

With MIT’s OpenCourseWare – the university’s classes offered online for free – as well as a long list of other quality free educational resources, the public perception of what holds value in education has changed. Facts and how-to’s are freely available to anyone with Internet access. So why pay upwards of $40,000 a year in tuition? “OpenCourseWare was an important signpost that hammered home the point that the content of a university course was being rapidly commoditized by technology,” DeMillo said in the interview with New York Times reporter Tamar Lewin. “If you [college professor] think your value is in 13 weeks of lectures, then exams, it’s true that that’s probably not going to be as valuable in the future.”

What Colleges Must Do to Stay Relevant | MindShift

Libraries reinvent themselves as they struggle to remain relevant in the digital age

Kathy DeGrego’s T-shirt lets you know right away she isn’t an old-school librarian. “Shhh,” it says, “is a four-letter word.”

That spirit of bookish defiance has guided the makeover of the suburban Denver library system where DeGrego works. Reference desks and study carrels have been replaced by rooms where kids can play Guitar Hero. Overdue book fines have been eliminated, and the arcane Dewey Decimal System has been scrapped in favor of bookstore-like sections organized by topic.

"It’s very common for people to say, ‘Why do I need a library when I’ve got a computer?’ " said Pam Sandlian-Smith, director of the seven-branch Rangeview, Colo., Library District. "We have to reframe what the library means to the community."

» via The Los Angeles Times

Column — Relevance of Libraries

City council candidate Chuck Swore said he nearly had a “heart attack” when he heard a new public library might cost $45 million. That’s some pretty dramatic sticker shock.

“We don’t need the same kind of library,” Swore said at a candidate forum. “The Gazette can tell you that. People don’t read the same way they used to read. They go online. You can go online and get about any book you want.”

Swore’s right about the fading fortunes of newsprint. But he’s wrong about the fading relevance of libraries.

I don’t like picking on Swore. I know he wants to spend tax money wisely. So do I.

We can have a debate on how much needs to be spent on a new facility to replace the flooded central library, on top of state and federal bucks. We can argue locations, timelines, amenities and parking.

But I hope we steer clear of arguments that we should downsize our ambitions because libraries are somehow a less-than-necessary, bygone relic.

In fact, I’d argue that in this dazzling, dizzying digital age, they’re more important than ever.

Seen at the Cedar Rapids Gazette