Have you ever heard of a Zettabyte?
When I first heard the term, I thought it must be something in our paleontology museum – some type of an extinct marine fossil such as a Trilobite. But as it turns out, a zettabyte is a term used to define enormous amounts of data on the web. Several steps beyond a terabyte, a zettabyte represents roughly ALL of the content on the World Wide Web from the beginning of the Internet until 2010 – a staggering amount of information by any measure.
Now, as if that isn’t enough – web content is being added every minute of every day. In fact, by the year 2015 – the year in which our current freshmen will graduate from Webb, estimates are that 1 zettabyte of content will be added to the web each and every year. Think about that. The total cumulative amount of content added to the web in the first decades of its existence will be doubled every year, and the rate of added content will only increase from there.
So the question becomes, how does one find meaning in this sea of information? How do young people grow up in an unfiltered world, where data and information is ever abundant, to become men and women of character, people who will have the moral courage to do what is right, who have the ability to solve complex problems by thinking creatively, and who are willing to serve others as a part of the fabric of their lives?
The answer at Webb is actually pretty simple and timeless. We get to know our students – each and every student – in ways only a boarding school can. We work with our students – face-to-face, eye-to-eye, every minute of every day during their time here. We guide them, we challenge them, we teach them to meet challenges head on, to pick themselves up when they have failed, and to try again.
We fully embrace this new world of connectivity with some of the most impressive technology of any school in the country. And yet we are also in the business of managing our permanence. We know that a great education goes beyond gadgets and information. A great education teaches students to rise above the fray, and to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.
Taylor Stockdale is the Head of Schools for The Webb Schools.