Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Burgh Education 2.0

Pittsburgh should be in the business of opening up expertise to the novice and making transparent the cult of knowledge production. The best way to do this is to train the workforce (and the polity) to master social environments that promote the open sharing of ideas and experience. InfoWorld's visionary Jon Udell has commented on the democratization of knowledge production:

Patients with no ability to read specialized medical literature are, nonetheless, doing so, and then arriving in their doctors' offices asking well-informed questions. Willinsky (only semi-jokingly) says the Canadian Medical Association decided this shouldn't be called "patient intimidation" but, rather, "shared decision-making."

The goal of new educational initiatives should be enabling students to successfully engage in shared decision-making. Virtual networks are the knowledge engines where this can take place, but only if we train people how to use this space. Trained networkers of the Burgh Diaspora could share their wealth of knowledge and experience instead of hoarding. I'll take 10 well-connected novices over one expert any day of the week.

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