Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So obvious it becomes invisible

Sat on the wall the other day, outside the Chaplaincy, having a cup of tea. Someone I should have recognised sat down next to me. She was on one of the same modules as me in final year Multimedia. I couldn't recognise her, which was strange for me as I don't often forget faces. Names? All the time but rarely if ever faces. Needless to say the conversation had already begun.

Well we were chatting and I mentioned the fact that I had gone to study in America for a semester, August to December, last year . She graduates this year like me and is now doing a PGCE in IT Secondary (she must be crazy if you ask me!) Anyhow, she said that once she's qualified she'd like to go and teach in the U.S. so I told her a little bit about what a great time I had and about the research I did while I was there. It was on High school students (typically 18 year olds in their final year) and what they thought about IT teaching and technology in general, you know, like how it effects them, how they think the education system presents the material etc etc. She was very interested as of course it related directly to her potential life plans.

"Why don't you post up a message on the Forum and ask if any of the members have any knowledge of working in America etc", I said to her. "What a good idea", she said.

I was like this, still am sometimes, its easy to forget the enormous power to communicate that the internet represents. It's like extending the whole world of people, of commerce, of politics, of art, well, of everything really, into your living room, and you out to it! And we often times forget this. We struggle with problems, agonise over the need for information about a particular thing, rack our brains over where we can find things out, while all the time the internet sits there with the potential to connect us to a mind boggling array of knowledge and experience. We often just sit there lost in our own world, trying to find the information we need in order to take our next step.

This morning I heard on the news that Google has just purchased YouTube. Wait for it. . . for £900 million! YouTube has only been in existance for 18 months and, before that it was no more than an idea for a way to transfer information, in this case digital home movies across an already existing internet network. The best ideas are simple and usually based upon something that has existed in our lives for so long that the inherent obvious-ness of it renders it all but invisible. Think about it, taking your home movies to view at a friends or family members house, what could be more simple than that! All YouTube did was simplify the process and in effect extend the meaning of 'your family and friends' out into the entire world!

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