Seth Godin hits us all between the eyes with some nifty examples and a question:

It took Ignaz Semmelweis more than twenty years (he died before it happened, actually) to persuade doctors that washing their hands could save the lives of mothers giving birth. He had the data, he had the proof, but that wasn’t enough to change minds.

Data mining and the proximity of the internet to most of what we do is changing the proximity of proof to decision. Now, you don’t need to do a lot of research, the data is just a click away.

What are you going to do when your hunches don’t match the data that’s now pouring in?

Not surprisingly (I don’t follow medical history anymore since I decided I wasn’t going to be the next Arrowsmith), I didn’t know about poor Ignaz. But his story makes me want to ask, where’s the data for the hunches edubloggers have in abundance?

If I wanted to play Seth’s game here, I’d have to do several things:

  1. Identify the hunches people have
  2. Find data on the web that don’t match those hunches or oppose it.

Part of the ill-structured problem-solving process is to identify the hunches we have. But to get those hunches, we have to have an ill-structured problem, identify stakeholders and then develop a decision matrix to consider all the angles and possible solutions.

These scenarios are present in abundance, right? I mean, consider Dangerously Irrelevant’s Dr. Scott McLeod. He has a few of those every other post. Other edubloggers have them too. Consider Will Richardson’s problem as outlined in one of his latest posts. He’s run into a problem–it’s a repeat all of us who “do” staff development have encountered–that I remember when *I* first ran into it over 10 years ago. The issue? When technology is a part of the solution–whatever that solution is for–it becomes THE definitive thing people refer to. It’s frustrating. You want people to use the technology to accomplish the solution but people get bogged down in the technology.

Will highlights this in the following:

Unfortunately, most of what I got back (on the first go round at least; I asked them to do it again) was about how to use the tools in the classroom, and very little about what they wanted to learn about learining around their own passions with others who share them.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure