New Knowledge

2014 is a new year, and one of my mantras will be around the idea of new knowledge.

“Our old technology — paper — gave us an idea of knowledge that said that knowledge comes from experts who are filtered, printed, and then it’s settled, because that’s how books work. Our new technology shows us we are complicit in knowing. In order to let knowledge get as big as our new medium allows, we have to recognize that knowledge comes from all of us (including experts), it is to be linked, shared, discussed, argued about, made fun of, and is never finished and done. It is thoroughly ours – something we build together, not a product manufactured by unknown experts and delivered to us as if it were more than merely human”. – David Weinberger

I love the idea that we have reached a point where we can agree that the Internet has become a great equalizer. Everyone is capable now of accessing knowledge. But it’s not just any knowledge. Low-cultural knowledge has always had a shared, linked, discussion aspect to it. I’m thinking the pop-culture waves that exploded with things like Star Wars. High-cultural knowledge has usually have more refined borders put around it. For example, a university community has traditionally had a closed culture stigma to it. Those that join become accepted into a community of elite knowledge that would only be sahred with those in the same category.

The Internet is a leveler. Our knowledge as teachers may supercede the students in most instances. But if we teach them the tools to gain knowledge, then we are equiping them for a life outside of educational institutions and helping them earn citizenship in a world where there are far fewer guarded communities. Teach them to think, not to pass exams.

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