Another dot in the blogosphere?

The more you know

Posted on: March 13, 2014

The More You Read the More You Know by Enokson, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Enokson 

STonline just published this news article, Short-term exposure to PM2.5 is harmful too.

The responsible thing to do as a blogger is to link to the article. But know this:

  • The article is behind a paywall and you may not be able to read all of it without a subscription
  • The link is likely to break as Breaking News articles at STonline are wont to do
  • The resource might be available in an archive like AsiaOne days or weeks after it is published

As important as this information is at this time in Singapore, it is a shame that some key information is not available immediately to readers who cannot get past the paywall.

Further down the article is:

The NEA reckoned, based on existing PSI calculations, that each of the past five years had between 91 per cent and 96 per cent of “good” air quality days, and just 4 per cent to 9 per cent of “moderate” days.

Under the new reporting system, the figures would have been flipped, with just 1 per cent to 4 per cent of good days in each year, and 92 per cent to 98 per cent of moderate days.

“NEA will have to acknowledge that it was a bit conservative on quantifying the risk posed by the smoke,” said senior research scientist Santo Salinas at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing.

Those who are not aware of the effects of PM2.5 might find the “new” measurement and health impact newsworthy or alarming.

As one who stays up-to-date and preferred AQI to the outdated PSI, this was not news to me. What was alarming was the revelation of how the PSI yardstick misled us into thinking how good our air was.

Rather than focus on possible public outrage or the politics of changing standards, I turn my attention to how this applies to schooling.

Most schooling systems have central bodies that dictate curricula. Content is put into silos and levels based on criteria like content standards, principles of psychology, and previous practice. In other words, we tell people what they need to know and when to know it just like newspapers do.

These days the need to resort to these strategies is losing relevance. Standards change, psychology principles are challenged, and what used to work in the past does not necessarily work now.

Access to timely information is key. But it is not enough to know; it is more important to learn how to think independently, creatively, and critically. This sort of thinking is not defined by age or content.

So let us have the information or let us actively seek it out. Then let us create or curate content for the benefit of learners and learning.

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