How We Share Knowledge

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How We Share Knowledge

I’ve come across a few articles and videos that makes me think about how we share knowledge and make connections. I started off wondering “are precision and recall relevant in exploratory searching” (did I lose you yet? Don’t worry, I won’t continue to talk about that subject!) and then I realized that when I learn about new stuff in my profession, I’m really muddling through information on the internet to find what I want.

For example, I thought I’d read more about mobile, then I was onto the Pew Research website about how mobile is eliminating the digital divide, then I ended up on Smashing Magazine, then went to all my newsletters that I never read (400 and counting…) because I never have time to read them.

Finally, I ended up at the KMWorld (Knowledge Management World) website which provided a video the keynote from their 2012 conference by David Weinberger (a favourite of mine). He had a really interesting keynote in which he emphasized that knowledge creation is no longer linear. The hyperlink has destroyed our traditional model for education and education has now become public. He calls our current education “messiness” where we can make “oddball connections” and find “networked knowledge.”

Listen to his talk.

His talk reminds me of an article from the Economist discussing the growth of online education vs “bricks and mortar” classrooms, especially at the post-secondary level. I did my B.A. in a traditional classroom setting, I also paid a lot for it and came out with very few practical skills. (“No, I don’t want to word process that, but I will tell you about how the Book of Isaiah was written by three different authors.”) My MLIS was online and a very practical degree. Plus, I didn’t need to spend time commuting to school.

One spur is economic and political pressure to improve productivity in higher education. The cost per student in America has risen at almost five times the rate of inflation since 1983. For universities beset by heavy debts, smaller taxpayer subsidies and a cyclical decline in enrolment, online courses mean better tuition, higher graduation rates and lower-cost degrees. New technology also gives the innovative a chance to shine against their rivals.

If we continue to break down these educational walls and change our knowledge creation process, do we then break down the digital divide and improve information literacy? The digital divide can be described as an invisible barrier separating those who are wealthy enough to afford technology (or schools and libraries with technology) from those who cannot afford technology and who also don’t live in areas with schools and libraries rich enough to own technology. However, mobile devices are breaking down this divide (which is crazy awesome), as told by Susannah Fox from the Pew Internet project.