March 25, 2011

Content is not king


Listening to a presentation in Belfast from m'old colleague Andrew Brown from LTS, he reminds me of this quote from blogger, storyteller and, yes, content-creator Cory Doctorow, pictured:

Content isn't king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you'd choose your friends -- if you chose the movies, we'd call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about.

One of the key points I've been driving in the past year has been the importance of schools providing places for conversations and exploration to take place, perhaps through a design thinking-based pedagogy and process. Such a process takes the onus off the teacher to be the one preparing resources for children, effectively doing the learning for the youngster. Instead, it forces interaction around content, rather than content to be consumed or 'learnt', to take centre stage.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

This really comes back to Hugh MacLeod's idea of 'social objects' - where content serves as the 'catalyst for' rather than 'the conclusion of' the conversation.

This is so true Ewan, have a look at another TED talk by 'Deb Roy' about the birth of a word... interesting in itself initially but he goes on to show great visualisations of networks and content mapping showing interactivity with media. Excellent talk!

I really like the idea put forward above by Bryan of content as a catalyst for conversation. The idea of learning as a result of interpersonal communication is very powerful, but it is often disregarded in school contexts where teachers have traditionally been the sole source of knowledge and information.

In our personal lives, we all know it to be true that we learn most effectively when we communicate, when we have our assumptions challenged, when we are guided to new and wonderful bits of knowledge.

Teachers who enable conversations of this sort in their lessons already being rewarded with interest, engagement and appreciation. Students are, of course, learning.

I don't know. What makes up a conversation? Content. Therefore the content still trumps conversation because content is the bedrock of conversation.

Daniel Greenberg and the late, great Russell Ackoff reckon that, quite simply, learning always happens via play and conversation.

The comments to this entry are closed.

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

Recent Posts