Sunday, June 21, 2009

Owning Knowledge: thoughts about the 'Ethic of the Link'

Great interview with Jay Rosen on social media and journalism that I think bears a lot of importance for educators.

Pay close attention to the comments made concerning the "Ethic of the Link" around 4:27:
"You don't just use the web to tell people stuff, you send them to where they can learn more.... to connect people with sources of knowledge that they can use themselves so that they're not dependent on you all the time to tell them something else."

That's what we want to happen in the classroom. As we discussed concerning the Pappas article from a couple of days ago, if a student is always looking for teacher validation, that student will be lost once they leave the classroom.

We need students to validate themselves.

So, we shouldn't be giving information to the students. We should be giving students links to the information and then we should hold them responsible for following and searching the links. Classtime itself should be a conversation, a debriefing, a discussion based on what the students found.

Now, this is not unlike asking a student to go read an article so that we can discuss it tomorrow. Except in that few students are going to read a piece of paper and then, autodidactically, go off and try to find out more information. But via links, the student enters into a Web of information navigable in an inviting way; personal interest and self-motivation is cued by curiosity and made accessible by simple access to more links. And, of course in the fluid and social world of links available via Twitter, Diigo, and the like, the student actually becomes part of the process of the creation of knowledge itself. The result is ultimately one of activating ownership.

The process of actively accessing sources of knowledge rather than expecting the passive reception culled from the distribution of knowledge is the defining feature of a successful academic mindset.

We want the student to own knowledge, not lease it until the exam is through.

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