Bridging the sharing gap

Dem, der deler, lærer hurtigere. Vil du følge med, må du lære at dele! Pointen er klar, når Marc Prensky, manden bag begrebet 'de digitale indfødte', deler sin viden med os.

Almost everywhere you turn these days there is a "gap" or "divide" that needs bridging. The gender gap. The digital divide. We could go a long way to eliminating all of these if we addressed a different gap which is hardly ever discussed - the "sharing" gap. We see this gap frequently in our teachers, working on their own in separate classrooms. In a nutshell: younger people like to share, older people don't. But it's also a big problem in business. 

I am from the "older" generation, brought up in a time when information was scarce. If I knew something others didn't, it was an advantage, one that was best kept for potential future use. Sharing meant hard work, like writing and getting something published, and the possibility of criticism. "Knowledge is Power" was our watchword, along with "Keep it close to the vest." At the very least, if one shared, one needed to be sure one got something back in return. 

So relatively little sharing ever got done. Getting the information for "knowledge management" in companies was like pulling teeth. I watched a large bank try to get its senior executives to share details of their deals into a common  database - no one would do it. The signature TV quiz show of my generation, The $64.000 Question, stuck its contestants in "isolation booths," epitomizing this attitude. 

Today's young people, of course, have the completely opposite perspective. Power for them comes from being the first to publically share some new information or idea - first to blog about it, first to twitter it, or first to put up a You Tube. Speed is the metric, as is audience size. Young people vie for more and more "friends" on Facebook and "followers" on Twitter. On TV, the isolation booth has been replaced by the "lifeline." Don't know the answer? Ask the audience! Phone a friend! 

Why is this important? Because the group that shares the most, learns the fastest. In education, many of our older teachers, loathe to share, keep their successes (and they have many) locked inside their classroom, often not wanting their administrators - much less their colleagues - to know what they are doing. As a result, those teachers who are looking to improve, and who are desperately looking for good examples, find only meager pickings on You Tube or Teacher Tube, or the Internet, when they find much at all. 

Young people, however, are in a virtual sharing orgy. You Tube is rife with kids sharing their recipes for cheating on exams, for getting away with texting in class. And, of course, for more positive things - there are tens of thousands of student-made "how-to's" and examples of students' work. Young texters and twitterers are sharing their lives minute-to-minute. 

In these days where practically every adult has a mobile phone that can take video (or knows a kid with one) and can point it at him or herself and talk, it's time for older folk to catch up on their sharing. There is no excuse for not You Tubing and sharing every single good idea one has. Can't do it yourself? Ask any kid. 

What will we get if we do? An immense bloom of shared innovation. If I have a good teaching idea or method that I keep to myself, it benefits a few hundred students a year, a few thousand in my career, and - maybe - a handful of teachers with whom I am friendly. If I publish a book about it, I might reach a few thousand colleagues. But if I put up a You Tube that goes viral, my good idea can easily reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of colleagues. Think of how many students your own ideas or methods would reach via these teachers. 

It's a real simple idea: A group that shares more learns faster. Want to keep ahead (or just abreast?) Learn to share. 

Rigtig mange opgaver her i Fremtidslaboratoriet handler netop om, at finde og dele viden i fællesskab. Prøv f.eks.:
Dansk, 7.-10 klasse: Emnearbejde - del bogmærker og lav en blog
Historie, 7.-10. klasse: Samarbejd om en historie-wiki
Historie, 7.-10. klasse: Hurtig på aftrækkeren - research
Musik, 7.-10. klasse: Musikken tider- fra folkeviser til Lady Gaga
Historie, 4.-6. klasse: Lav en historie-wiki
Dansk, 7.-10. klasse: Medieanalyse med Twitter
Flere opgaver

Marc Prensky
Marc Prensky is an internationally acclaimed thought leader, speaker, writer, consultant and game designer in the critical areas of education and learning. He is the author of Digital Game-Based Learning (McGraw Hill 2001) and Don't Bother Me, Mom, I'm Learning (Paragon House, 2006). Marc is the founder and CEO of Games2train, a game-based learning company, whose clients include IBM, Bank of America, Pfizer, the U.S. Department of Defense and the LA and Florida Virtual Schools. He is also the creator of the sites Marc holds an MBA from Harvard and a Masters in Teaching from Yale. More of his writings can be found at Marc can be contacted at

Produced by Marc Prensky for Innovation Lab exclusively. All rights reserved Marc Prensky/Innovation Lab.

03. juli 2011    Tanker
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