Knowledge is not enough

Personification of knowledge (Greek ????????, ...

Personification of Knowledge
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Reading the very interesting post "Visualizing Open/Networked Teaching: Revisited" by Alec Couros made me feel quite uneasy. The post covers the important question of 'how to best visualize open/networked teaching?' (however it may be defined). Being able to visualize that would be very helpful to explain the concept. But it made me uneasy,  that his post was another post in a series of posts I read recently that focussed on knowledge as a process or product in the context of education. While it is important to really understand knowledge and the process of "knowledging" as applied to education and the act of living, aren't we missing another very important concept. The purpose of knowledge normally is not centered knowledge itself but around making good decisions in life.


My unease surfaced after listening to the wonderful TED talk by Barry Schwartz about the importance of practical wisdom, and that rules tend to suppress practical wisdom. Now where do I see the link to knowledge? Well, have you ever heard some say to you: "Why did you do that, you should have known better!".  Today knowledge very often  dictates us the rules that we are supposed to live by. When we put the main emphazis on knowledge, we thus also define our set of rules to a certain extent.

But this does not take into account, that we often don't know everything there is to understand the full context (here is an example). Any rules derived by knowledge may not be applicable or even be false in such a situation. So while knowledge is very important in education, it is also important to acknowledge the fact that there will be many situtations in life, where we are not completely knowledgable, but still have to make a decision.

In the case of partially lacking knowledge the process of decision making can be aided by values. As Kant wrote values cannot be derived from a description of the world as it is (knowledge).  If education should enable to make decisions in real world situations it has to focus on knowledge and values.

In my opinion (I do not have evidence for that) values are mostly generated and learned through social interaction. So maybe by focussing on the networked, or social processes maybe even web 2.0 involved in knowledge, the focus is also on social interaction thus at least offering a context in which also values could be generated. Should not be the focus also on this aspect?





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