When Data is Out of Date

Last week’s readings were connected to the idea of Open Education and the idea that barriers should be removed between the learner and the thing that they are trying to learn.  Sharing information helps others gain knowledge. It’s a simple statement.  If you are able to share what you know, others can benefit and, more than likely, synthesis that information and create something new with it. (Which is the goal, according to Bloom’s Taxonomy, right?)

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Photo Credit: mrpetersononline via Compfight cc

It’s also true to say that Open Education is aided by the technology available today.  It’s easier to share ideas and information now, more than ever. And that information can help others out enormously.  When I was watching The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, (which was an incredibly sad story) I saw, near the end, proof that Aaron Swartz had the right idea, that information should be free. One of the speakers talks about a boy, Jack Andraka, and how he used online journals that Aaron Swartz had publicized to create a test for early cancer diagnosis.  So, I looked up more about Jack Andraka and found a TED talk where he describes the process of creating this test for pancreatic cancer.

It’s incredible. He was intrinsically motivated to create something brand new and was helped and further motivated by the information that he could access online. From this we can see that there is merit to Open Education, to our ideas and knowledge being shared as soon as we can.

There is also the fact that a lot of our current data is out of date.  As Chayln said, “as an educator, sometimes our materials are out of date, as we have to track down many of our own resources to use in the classroom” What is widely available within our schools and in our libraries is not always the best, up to date information. That’s why it’s so important to have current data. It can change so much over the course of a couple of years, or even a couple of months.

While wasting time on one of my favourite websites, Imgur, I came across a post of Hans Rosling arguing with a newscaster. It was this video:

But, on Imgur, there are only gifs or pictures, so the orignal poster had taken screenshots that you could read through his arguements about the fact that the news media is not reporting the actual facts.  From there, I googled Hans Rosling and found his TED talk. Admittedly, it is from 2006 and is now ten years old. But it still illustrates a key point.  Our worldview, and our current data available within our classrooms is out of date. When you actually look at information available online, you can develop tons of other ideas. Rosling ends the TED talk with a hope that more information will be able to shared and that we will have new and better ways of sharing, which links back to Aaron Swartz and what he was doing just a few years after this TED talk was published.

Rosling’s TED talk also illustrates what happens when data is out of date. With out of date data (essentially the wrong information) we can draw the wrong conclusions.  We need to have correct, up to date, information widely available for our students to be able to create new and exciting ideas.

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2 thoughts on “When Data is Out of Date

  1. Not only is our information out of date, I think if we want to make sure that we are focusing on social justice as educators than we have to be careful that our information is really current and really relevant.

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  2. I agree with both you and Andrea about the importance of current information. I just wonder how quickly information changes in our world? How can we assure that it’s current? I plan my lessons a week or two in advance, if not more , and information can change even in that time frame. I guess it is important to remain vigilant and on top of the information out there. Thanks for sharing!

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