A week ago, as we were wrapping up the Traveling Geeks‘ two-day visit to Cambridge, I was walking down the main drag with author Howard Rheingold when we stopped for a moment in front of King’s College. I took out my loaner Flip Ultra and shot this 6-minute interview of Howard, colorfully garbed as always, in front of the 500-year-old King’s College, talking about 21st century literacies.
Howard hit on one major takeaway that I had from our week in the UK. “Increasingly I think the digital divide is less about access to technology and more about the difference between those who know how and those who don’t know how,” he said. He’s convinced that what’s most important is not access to the Internet — we have more than a billion people on the Internet now and there are 4 billion phones out there — but access to knowledge and literacies for the digital age. “The ability to know has suddenly become the ability to search and the ability to sift” and discern. “Skill plus social” is the key.
Earlier in the week Howard gave the keynote address at Reboot Britain, and he recounts some of the highlights here. Among the Essential Literacies he cites are:
• Critical consumption (which includes “crap detection” — we live in an age when you can get the answer to anything out of the air, but how do you know what and whom to trust?)
He also talks about focused attention vs. multitasking and the importance of being able to handle an array of tasks simultaneously.
We had a great dinner (at an Italian restaurant), and it was a bonus to get to know Howard a bit better during our trip.