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Hi Jeff, 1. For me, this list (as an example) provides a forum for social negotiation for each of our constructs of reality. It ebbs and flows. I am not really concerned about convincing anyone that I am right or that they should be believe what I do. I am interested in the discussion itself and the ideas that other bring to it. It is not the same as all of us trying to come to a consensus and produce a single document. From a constructivist standpoint, knowledge exists only within our mind. This occurs when the individual takes data (or information) and associates it with existing knowledge or experiences he/she has. Social negotiation is the process in which we interact/discuss our knowledge with others and come to a workable understanding of objective reality. The is working understanding is not necessarily objective reality (very unlikely, but a always a goal). It is just that: a workable understanding. Knowledge does not exist in books, Internet or Wikipedia. These are sources of organized data (information). Information has no value until the human mind attaches meaning to it as part of knowledge construction. Knowledge is constructed by the human mind every waking second (perhaps during sleep as well). The question for educators is whether or not our efforts are aimed at helping students construct meaningful/useful knowledge. Rote memorization, sometimes necessary (e.g. learning letters, numbers, etc.), does not typically result in meaningful knowledge because the information with meaningful knowledge/experiences the student has. 2. An example of a better source of knowledge construction is a simulation, whether technology based or not. Knowledge Matters is an outstanding example: http://www.knowledgematters.com/ James W. Beal, Ed.D. Director of Technology Somonauk Community Unit School District #432 ---------------------------------------------- Education is not what you think you have learned. It is how you have learned to think. > Jim: > In my way of thinking, you seem to be a little turned around on a > couple of points in your posting below. > > 1) "..willing to accept Wikipedia..." as what? As a first rate example of > what things happen (and, arguably, what things can be accomplished) when a > bunch of strangers decide to work together without hope of profit or fame? > You betcha! As an impeckable source of information? Perhaps not so much, > though it does surprisingly well even so. But as I've mentioned, it makes > for a really good place to practice critical thinking and content > analysis. No source should be accepted without such, and a flawed one with > so much organized content and popularity just can't be beat for that > purpose. > > 2) A platform which supports knowledge construction? I really cannot think > of a better one. But, yes, you're right, we're now talking about the > technology (a platform or vehicle through which people can construct > knowledge). Wikis are potentially powerful knowledge construction tools. > Wikipedia just happens to be the most popular wiki (which, again, has its > advantages). But your remark, "...Consensus of anyone, regardless of > education, does not make for useful information for knowledge > construction..." seriously misses the point. A good Wikipedia article > pulls "useful information" (in the form of citations) from elsewhere, and > the article itself serves the purpose of supporting the construction of > knowledge within it. > > Your mistake is to look at Wikipedia content solely through the > eyes of a researcher. Yes, you should do that, but what's powerful about > Wikipedia is that it isn't just content, it is process. It can, at its > best, cause hundreds of people to, from their perch within a single > Wikipedia article, turn around and look at the rest of the Internet, and > all other knowledge sources, through the eyes of a researcher. That's > what's powerful about the process of constructing knowledge -- not the > veracity of a single source of information in that process. > We're so used to encyclopedias and textbooks being static, fixed, > verifiable and unassailable information sources that we forget that much > of the information they actually contain is NOT static, fixed, often not > even verifiable, and almost never unassailable. So the expectation isn't > that a reference resource should have those qualities, but in what amounts > must they be present for the information to be useful. Wikipedia is simply > embracing that idea, and forcing us to be transparent and collaborative in > its pursuit. Frankly, I'm a big fan. > Jeff > --- Edtech Archives, posting guidelines and other information are at: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~edweb Please include your name, email address, and school or professional affiliation in each posting. To unsubscribe send the following command to: LISTSERV@H-NET.MSU.EDU SIGNOFF EDTECH