Individual knowledge in the Internet age

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Citation: Larry Sanger (2010) Individual knowledge in the Internet age. EDUCAUSE Review (RSS)

Tagged: Philosophy (RSS)


Sanger's article unpacks and engages with three claims made by online enthusiasts about education and new media technology that Sanger argues are overstated. These claims include:

  1. The idea that access to databases on the Internet mean that memorization is no longer an important part of education.
  2. The idea that group learning is superior individual learning and that collaborative processes on the Internet have rendered individual learning unimportant.
  3. The idea that "co-constructed" knowledge by members of a group is superior to the knowledge that comes lengthy and complicated books.

Sanger discusses some of the arguments that support these claims or that are used by proponents of the Internet to support them (these include Brown and Adler, Carr and Shirky, Bauerlein, Keen, etc.) and concludes that a good "basic education" remains centrally important and that must ultimately be accomplished by becoming acquainted with original sources, the classics, and by reading increasingly difficult and important books.

Theoretical and practical relevance:

There is a longer discussion of Sanger's article here, and a discussion of whether the Internet can transform the universities here.