Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room (David Weinberger 2012)

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We used to know how to know. We got our answers from books or experts. We’d nail down the facts and move on. But in the Internet age, knowledge has moved onto networks. There’s more knowledge than ever, of course, but it’s different. Topics have no boundaries, and nobody agrees on anything.

Yet this is the greatest time in history to be a knowledge seeker . . . if you know how. In Too Big to Know, Internet philosopher David Weinberger shows how business, science, education, and the government are learning to use networked knowledge to understand more than ever and to make smarter decisions than they could when they had to rely on mere books and experts.

This groundbreaking book shakes the foundations of our concept of knowledge—from the role of facts to the value of books and the authority of experts—providing a compelling vision of the future of knowledge in a connected world. (Book description on Amazon, emphasis added)

John Seely Brown, Daniel Pink, and Clay Shirky, among others, make arguments similar to David Weinberger.

Since knowledge is becoming increasingly networked, we need to teach learners how to identify and use the most relevant, valid, and reliable networks. We need to teach less what to know and more how to know, less what to see and more how and where to look.

Learning how to ask the most important questions has always been the most important part of learning, but never more so than in the 21st century in which data explodes exponentially and the stakes for humanity could not be higher. What should we, what must we pay attention to?

The world will only become more complex, interdependent, and challenging. We need to educate learners who are capable of thinking about complexity in complex ways. Their success and our well-being depend on it.

“Where” is knowledge “located” or how is it produced and reproduced? Maybe it has always made more sense to conceptualize knowledge not as what exists in individual heads but as what is constructed through communication, privileging a sociological over a mental/psychological understanding of knowledge.

Networked knowledge is highly compatible with networked and remix culture more generally, and with epistemic communities and actor-network theory (ANT) a la Bruno Latour et al.

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