CCK11 – Where does knowledge reside?

25 01 2011

The question asked by George (link) where does knowledge reside has been churning around in my mind for some time. I don’t have any clear answers, but i need to clear my mind to start on the week 2 stuff. I must admit that my reaction has been similar to Gary’s: I don’t know and what does it matter?

But now I’m beginning to think that it does matter. Afterall, if one of the roles of educators is to support learners in finding knowledge and creating it, we have to know where it might be lurking.

We always talk about knowledge as if it were a physical thing. We use language such as constructing, generating creating, storing etc. I’ve always thought of knowledge as being the stuff I know about inside my head – but almost as if it were something physical and tangible. Now I’m not a neuroscientist and I must admit that some of the references to network theory simply sail right over me.but, I can see that my knowledge is really just a network of connections that my brain has made between ‘knowledge artifacts’ – which might possibly be the ‘nodes’ in connectivitst terms.

So great –  the cogs of my brain have churned sufficiently to make connections between bits of knowledge that I’ve encountered, and to make some sense – to one degree or another –  out of those connections. But so what? Keeping it all in my head is of no use to anyone – can it really be called ‘knowledge’ until I externalise the connections I’ve made e.g through a blog post, formal paper, a conversation, a tweet, my own actions and practice…. To me, this is then the new knowledge that I’ve created, ready for myself and others to connect to and start the process again.

Hmmm – sounds very much like aggregate, remix, repurpose, feed-forward. Now where have I heard that before?!