Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Network of Collective Knowledge

Last night on 'It's Elementary', we had guest John Pederson on the show. We were talking about social networking. The topic reminded me that knowledge is distributed. In the 'real-world', those who can communicate, collaborate, and connect with their networks to use knowledge will outrank those who only use that knowledge within their heads.
James Paul Gee (2003) echoes this when he refers to knowledge as distributed. He says

...thinking and reasoning are inherently social...(p. 184)

Knowledge inside one's head is not as useful as that knowledge found in other people, their writings, their tools, their friends or acquaintances. Or the way they communicate, collaborate, or connect with other people.
Yet in education, we test students' head knowledge not the ways in which they are able to communicate. We test students in isolation of each other not in how they collaborate. We value only what they know themselves, not how they are able to connect with their networks to find the knowledge they seek.
I don't give silent proctored tests in my room. I am more interested in assessing ability continuously and through the ways learners solve problems. This is what they will need to do in the 'real world'. I need to be teaching all learners to be successful in the real world.
References:
Gee, J.P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan.
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1 comment:

NJTechTeacher said...

I wish I had enough time to attend all these podcasts. I'll look forward to "attending" via my iPod. It sounds like a really good show. I'm enjoying watching the fledgling steps of my three computer classes collaborating. They're partnered with someone from two other classes to complete their work...for the first time ever as far as I'm concerned. It's an interesting new world!