Eric reflects on changing modes and the new realities represented by the iPhone and iPad. But is this a reflection leadership and structure or… ?

He reflects on a post by William Rankin at Open Culture.  Rankin describes the first two ages of information as pre-Gutenberg (one on one, books cost a lifetime) and post-Gutenberg (widespread access accompanied by symbolic complexity)… [but now] a third information age is emerging.

Eric writes that,” Pre-Gutenberg authors had one on one relationships with their learners [with] a few exceptions.. We’ve all lived in the post-Gutenberg world [and] the opportunities of authorship have been much more available [but] the limits of the physical format that allowed mass distribution also shackled authors to a linear form, to words in a row on one page after another.”

“Today we are in the midst of a birth of something new .. that goes beyond the one to many post-Gutenberg model. This is a transformation of media [that has] transplanted the written word from sequential pages to a web of related resources that one moves through with clicks and taps. We hardly know what this new media is yet, but it emerges around us nonetheless.

“This context brings me back to the iPad, a device .. that makes this new media intimate and mobile enough to become part of our daily lives. The iPad is not about allowing us to read the works of the post-Gutenberg world in electronic form .. Rather the iPad is about the invention of the third information age. Now that we have text, audio, video, and computing arts all available to the author.. we have hints that part of this transformation will be from a one to many conversation that is linear through time to a many to many conversation that informs the author as much as any of their learners. In fact, the author becomes the facilitator of a learning experience that everyone shares.”

What is interesting is that the exploding networked nature of the world we live in has implications for everything: leadership and learning in particular. The context generated by the new media is shaping our interaction with the world.. no, that doesn’t go far enough .. it is shaping US as participants in new ways. “We create our [technology].. then our [technology] creates us.”

The leader, writer, teacher of the future will be effective when she or he is immersed in this new reality such that they can facilitate a learning conversation that is constantly generative and evolving. Yes — it will be difficult to “conclude.” But perhaps most of our conclusions have been tentative anyway — we simply rued having to admit it.

One thing is sure, the top down expert and authoritative model is fading fast, the Mark Driscoll’s of the world notwithstanding.

See also Parker Palmer, “The Courage to Teach” and “The Violence of our Knowledge.

See also “Voices of the Virtual World: Participative Technologies and the Ekklesial Revolution.”