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2001 Gwen Gawith: Digitised Cinderellas

2001 Cathy de Moll: The Internet and September 11 disaster

2001 Mark Treadwell: Cognitive and conceptual development

2001 Gillian Eadie: ICT directions

2001 Rob Green: Integrating ICT into the secondary curriculum: PD for teachers

2001 Gwen Gawith: Garbage detection is a key component of information literacy

2000 Ron Johnston: Knowledge is abundant, but the ability to use it is scarce

2000 Stuart Hale: The last communication revolution.

1999 Pete Sommerville: Virtual field trips.

1999 Gwen Gawith: An open letter to Bill Gates.

1999 Gwen Gawith: Hype, hope or information literacy.

1998 Mark Treadwell: The emperor's new computer.

1998 Nola Campbell: A conversation about being online.

1998 Gwen Gawith: Intelligent technologies: Teaching for information literacy.

1997 Gwen Gawith: Technology and ODL: Rent an information literate luddite!

1997 Gwen Gawith: Technology and learning.

1996 Gwen Gawith: IT: charms or challenges.

1994 Gwen Gawith: new technologies: new skills for information literacy.

information literacy:
ICT & learning online

"Knowledge is abundant but the ability to use it is scarce"

Ron Johnston
Gwen Gawith presents excerpts from
Professor Ron Johnston’s keynote address at the recent
Toshiba Expanding Horizons Conference

If you are utterly bored, as I am, with the hype merchants (plug kids into computers and watch them light up) or the doom merchants (get onto the steam roller or you’ll be part of the road), Professor Ron Johnston’s keynote address at the recent Toshiba Expanding Horizons Conference was a breath of fresh air.

Professor Johnston is Executive director of the Australian Centre for Innovation and International Competitiveness (ACIIC) (see website info p. 16).

He demonstrated the relevance of solid research and solid knowledge in the debate about education for a knowledge economy.

The defining characteristics of this society he saw as:

• innovation

• globalisation

• knowledge economy

• connectivity.

He went on to put flesh onto the bones of terms such as knowledge intensification, saying:

"We are embedding knowledge in all sorts of ways to achieve capabilities we weren’t able to before."

The superb synthesis of design, technology, colour, art, choreography, whimsy, imagination, brawn and brain that was the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics was evidence, surely, of knowledge intensification?

Johnston talked about the difference between information and knowledge, depicting information as ‘digitisable’, knowledge as existing "in intelligent systems - you and me and developing systems." He saw learning as involving balancing information and knowledge, and describes the paradoxes of knowledge:

• using knowledge does not consume it

• transferring knowledge does not lose it

• the more transfer of knowledge, the more you have.

His summary was memorable:


He emphasised that knowledge is idiosyncratic, and looked at the need for knowing who, when and where together, claiming that scientific cultures emphasise knowing why at the expense of technical cultures which emphasise knowing how. he described a far more sophisticated and intuitive form of knowing: "The knowledge itself is changing the environment in which we operate and that requires quite different skills."

Such as?

Such as going beyond simple analysis to intuition; recognising patterns and trends, working collaboratively, handling ambiguity, valuing complexity, valuing flexibility, being highly self-directed.

What is needed to prepare the knowledge worker of the future?

• lifelong learning

• learner-directed learning

• learning to learn

• contextualised, applied learning

• customised learning

• transformative learning

• collaborative/ co-operative learning

• just-in-time learning

Johnston claims that the "demand for cognitive skills has increased somewhat,but the demand for interactive skills has increased dramatically."

He sees the need for "quite different skills":

• The ability to communicate deeply;

• High flexibility, value complexity rather than simplicity; "In simplifying we lose the richness of data. The more we can maintain complexity, the more choices we have";

• Highly self-directed; high discretion;

Working to a logic of improvisisation.