Sunday, September 19, 2010

How much information do we take for granted?

After reading Luker's Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences, I took a look back on my journey through school. From kindergarten (well, what I can remember) through my first year of my Master's degree (I am a 2nd year student.)

I remember when my elementary school purchased its first computer. I remember the technician who taught the entire grade 1/2 split class how to use the mouse. I remember my first computer; do you remember entering C:/ to play "Doom"? I do! I remember when Microsoft made it possible to turn on the computer and not need to enter tedious C:/dos/run's.

I don't remember when I was able to maneuver so easily through the computer's software; nor do I remember when it became so easy to search through a library catalogue. I have never looked into my life with the perspective that we live in a world of information overload until I started reading Salsa Dancing. As Luker stated, information used to be scarce; scholars needed to research "the literature" and information had to mutually reinforce how one thought about research. We are now in an age where information is literally bursting at the seams.

I think we all have noticed a change in how information has become so readily available. Remember when we were in elementary school? Before a computer was in nearly every household? Remember when we had science fair projects that required us to travel to the local library? I now help my cousins with their science fair projects and they are able to search online for visual instructions on how to make a volcano, or weight machine, or how to complete a simple electricity circuit.

It's mind-boggling how much information is available and literally at our fingertips. It does beg the question though...does the amount of information available to us make us as dedicated and knowledgeable in our field as someone who was educated in the "scarce information" eras, or do we simply fly by the seam of our pants?

Christina P

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