Apr 072011

Scardamalia, M. (2002). Collective cognitive responsibility for the advancement of knowledge. In B. Jones (Ed.) Liberal Education in a Knowledge Socienty (pp. 67-98). Chicago: Open Court.

Collective Cognitive Responsibility for the Advancement of Knowledge

If there is any consensus about what education in a knowledge society should be like, it is to be found in a cluster of terms that pervade the oral and printed discourse on this issue—including especially the ‘futuristic business literature’ that Bereiter cites in his target article: lifelong learning, flexibility, creativity, higher-order thinking skills, collaboration, distributed expertise, learning organizations, innovation, technological literacy. At times these appear to be empty buzzwords, but they may also be thought of as attempts to give expression to a central intuition that has yet to be formulated in terms that are clear enough to be very useful in generating designs and policies. In this chapter I attempt to extract a main idea from these vague terms and show how it can be applied to generate a kind of education that really does address new challenges in a new way.

A central idea is collective cognitive responsibility. Although this concept does not capture everything suggested in the foregoing list of terms, it captures much that they have in common and something more. Let us first expand upon the idea in the context of adult work and then apply it in the context of education.

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