A paperless society, how close are we?

About seventeen years ago I attended a seminar in Manchester at which the speaker predicted that a paperless society will emerge in twenty year’s time. We are three years away from the date and I wonder whether we are any closer to the prediction. Last week I was in London with Pal (a work colleague) to attend an HEA meeting at the London Knowledge Lab.  Before the meeting, we were emailed directions to the venue and we made sure we had a printed copy of the information before we set off from Leicester. At London Kings Cross we followed the instructions:

“From Kings cross, take the Piccadilly line south bound to Russell square, come out of the station and turn right, pass the Brunswick centre on your left and carry on and turn, carry on and turn, and turn and carry on and on and on and on…”

After the meeting, and based on my suggestion, we ignored the set of instructions sent to us, made an educated guess, and ventured in a direction we were convinced will take us back to the Kings Cross station. To verify that we were heading in the right directions, we stopped at a point and spoke to a couple who looked more like tourists than Londoners. After a few manoeuvres we made it to Kings Cross, hurray!!!

Back home I wondered why the direction to the venue of the meeting was not made available as a podcast for download, both for our immediate and future use and also considering the fact that the meeting was about podcasting for learning. The alternative would have been to have in our possession the revolutionary I-Phone with GPS functionality and maps.

Despite much talk about the exponential growth in computing power, the age of information technology, the age of digital revolution etc, characterised by the ability to access and transfer information freely, it appears many of us academics, and the institutions and organisations we belong to still limit our use of technology to aspects of our lives e.g. learning, teaching, researching, communicating  whilst  remaining ultra-conservative in other areas of our lives e.g. travelling, shopping etc. Clinging to, and tenaciously adhering to old ways of doing things, as pertained in the pre-technology era, instead of embracing the change and improvement technology can make in all areas of our lives has profound implications for how we view and change the future. From the point of view of “learning transition”, thinking digital and digital wisdom still remains a challenge in many aspects of our non-academic lives. Perspectives may differ on “initiation ceremonies” into digital modes of thinking, but the question still remains; how close are we to crossing the paperless chasm?

Sahm Nikoi; 31 March 2009.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

7 Comments

  1. bdra

     /  March 31, 2009

    Sahm, I find the idea for podcasting directions to events brilliant! We should do it for BDRA events from now on – it is inclusive, environmentally friendly and convenient.
    Sandra

    Reply
  2. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

    Reply
  3. uzswerkers

     /  April 1, 2009

    In my experience, it’s because things like directions, minutes, agendas are distributed by people at a level in the business where they don’t CARE about it enough to take any trouble – just do it the quickest and easiest way they can – and that’s the way they’ve always done it – paper based. It’s presented in a way that all you can do is to print it in order to access the information. It’s a cultural change not just technology adoption.

    Reply
  4. Great site this beyonddistance.wordpress.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

    Reply
  5. excellent site this beyonddistance.wordpress.com formidable to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

    Reply
  6. rated site this beyonddistance.wordpress.com brill to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: