Edd 5229 Liberal Studies in Knowledge Society Lecture 2



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EDD 5229 Liberal Studies in Knowledge Society

  • Lecture 2

  • Knowledge Society and

  • Its Impacts on Knowledge & Education


Knowledge Society & Information Age: A Distinct Epoch?

  • Typology of society by technological bases

    • Hunting and gathering society and technology of hunting
    • Pastoral society and technology of pastoralism and horsemanship
    • Agrarian society and technology of farming and irrigation
    • Industrial society and technology of manufacture
    • Knowledge society and informational or intellectual technology


Knowledge Society & Information Age: A Distinct Epoch?

  • Daniel Bell’s thesis of post-industrial society

    • Pre-industrial society: Society built on technology on raw materials and the axial principle of scarcity of land and resources
    • Industrial society: Society built on technology on energy and the axial principle of capital and labor control
    • Post-industrial society: Society built on technology on information and the axial principle of creation of theoretical knowledge


Knowledge Society & Information Age: A Distinct Epoch?

  • Peter Drucker’s thesis of Post-Capitalist Society

    • Industrial revolution: Knowledge applied tools, process, and products
    • Productivity revolution: Knowledge applied to work
    • Management Revolution: Knowledge applied to knowledge


Knowledge Society & Information Age: A Distinct Epoch?

  • Manuel Castells thesis of network society

  • In connection with the development Information Technology (IT) in the last three decades of the 20th century, Castells (1997) further Bell’s thesis by characterize the emerging society as network society, which is built on the network logic made possible by the advancements of IT. The logic of IT network, according to Castells, can be characterized as follows.





Knowledge Society & Information Age: A Distinct Epoch?

  • Manuel Castells thesis of network society

    • Central position of information in production:
      • It replaces land and natural resources in pre-industrial society and capital in industrial society to become the primary factor of production in the value production process.
      • In industrial society, it is information and knowledge acting on technology, which triggered the industrial revolution; but in informational society, it is technology acting on information that revokes technological breakthrough.
      • As a result, technology to act on information has replaced the technology on natural materials and energy to become the major driving force for advancement and competitions.


Knowledge Society & Information Age: A Distinct Epoch?

  • Manuel Castells thesis of network society

    • Pervasiveness of IT: Because information and knowledge are integral part of human activities and modern IT has provided such a penetrating capacities to almost every aspects of human activities, IT has pervaded into every corner of informational society.


Knowledge Society & Information Age: A Distinct Epoch?

  • Manuel Castells thesis of network society

    • Constitution of network logic:
    • “The Atom is the past. The symbol of science for the next century is the dynamical Net … Whereas the Atom represents clean simplicity, the Net channels the messy power of complexity. …The only organization capable of nonprejudiced growth, or unguided learning is a network. All other typologies limited what can happen. A network swarm is all edges and therefore open ended any way you come at it. Indeed, the network is the least structured organization that can be said to have any structure at all. …In fact a plurality of truly divergent components can only remain coherent in a network. No other arrangement – chain, pyramid, tree, circle, hub – can contain true diversity work as a whole.” (Kelly, 1995, p.25-27 quoted in Castells, 19976, note71, p. 61-62)


Knowledge Society & Information Age: A Distinct Epoch?

  • Manuel Castells thesis of network society

    • Flexibility: The fluid structure of the network and its IT basis provide the network with high degree of modifiabity, reversibility, and reconfigurability. In one word, flexibility has become one of the definitive features of IT network.
    • Convergence: Built on the above-mentioned features of IT network, the network also equips with high degree of compatibility and conversability, with other systems.




Information, Knowledge and IT: Conceptual Clarifications

  • Conceptions of information and knowledge

    • Norbert Weiner’s conception of information in Cybernetics: Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1948)
    • “Information is a name for the content of what is exchanged with the outer world as we adjust to it, and make our adjustment felt upon it. The process of receiving and of using information is the process of our adjusting to the contingencies of the outer environment, and of our living effectively within that environment. … To live effectively is to live with adequate information. Thus communication and control belong to the essence of man’s inner life, even as they belong to his life in society.” (Wiener, 1950/1967, Pp. 26-27)


Information, Knowledge and IT: Conceptual Clarifications

  • Conceptions of information and knowledge

    • Manuel Castells’ Conception in The Rise of Network Society (1996)
    • “Information is data that have been organized and communicated.” (Porat, 1977, p.2; quoted in Castells, 1996, p. 17, n.27)
    • ”Knowledge is a set of organized statements of facts or ideas, presenting a reasoned judgement or an experimental results, which is transmitted to others through some communication medium in some systematic form.” (Bell, 1973, p. 175; quoted in Castells, 1996, p. 17, n.27




Information, Knowledge and IT: Conceptual Clarifications

  • Conceptions of information and knowledge

    • Nonaka and Takenchi’s conception in The Knowledge Creating Company (1995)
    • “Information is a flow of messages, while knowledge is created by the very flow of information, anchored in the beliefs and commitment of its holder” (p. 58)
    • “Information provides a new point of view for interpreting events or objects, which makes visible previously invisible meanings or shed light on unexpected connections. Thus, information is a necessary medium or material for eliciting and constructing knowledge.” (p. 58)


Information, Knowledge and IT: Conceptual Clarifications

  • Conceptions of information and knowledge

    • Nonaka and Takenchi’s conception in The Knowledge Creating Company (1995)
    • However, Nanaka and Takenchi underline the apparent distinction between information and knowledge. “First, knowledge, unlike information, is about beliefs and commitment. Knowledge is a function of a particular stance, perspective, or intention. Second, knowledge, unlike information, is about action. It is always knowledge ‘to some end'. And third, knowledge, like information, is about meaning. It is context-specific and relational.” (p.58, original emphases)


Information, Knowledge and IT: Conceptual Clarifications

  • Conceptions of information and knowledge

    • Basic components of Information
      • Life system, e.g. human being
      • External reality, e.g. natural and social realities
      • Perceivable and conceivable signals/messages from the external reality to the life system


Information, Knowledge and IT: Conceptual Clarifications

  • Conceptions of information and knowledge

    • Conceptual hierarchy of information and knowledge
      • Data: Representations of matters and energies existing in external reality
      • Signals: Data attended by sense organs of life systems
      • Information: Messages codified and abstracted by life systems
      • Ideas and Knowledge: Information systemized by living cognitive systems, e.g. human brain
      • Master ideas and wisdom


Information, Knowledge and IT: Conceptual Clarifications

  • Conception of Tecnology

    • Ron Westrum’s conception of technology
      • Technology as things and artifacts
      • Technology as techniques
      • Technology as knowledge
    • Thomas P. Hughes’ conception
      • Technology as machine
      • Technology as system
      • Technology as institution
      • Technology as culture


Conception of Technology



Information, Knowledge and IT: Conceptual Clarifications

  • Information technology can simply defined as any man-made means in handling information. IT, therefore can be classified into

    • Technology of Information gathering: From sense organs of life systems, e.g. eyes, ears, touch receptors, to data collection mechanisms such as radar, X-ray, census, opinion poll, R and D institutes and research university
    • Technology of information processing
      • Technology of information codification, e.g. signs, symbols, languages, codes, and bite
      • Technology of information abstraction, e.g. concepts, indexes, theories
    • Technology of information storage, e.g. human brain, relics, historical records, books, hard discs in computers
    • Technology of information communication and diffusion, e.g. human speech acts, writing and reading, telecommunication, internet


On Knowledge: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • The consequences of Information-Technologicalization on knowledge

    • Impacts of information technologies on production and transmission of knowledge (i.e. research and education):
      • “Genetics provides an example that is accessible to the layman: it owes its theoretical paradigm to cybernetics.” (Lyotard, 1979, p.4)
      • Miniaturization and commercialization of intelligent machines
      • The nature of knowledge cannot survive in the information age until it is translatable into quantities of information, computer language, and informational commodity
      • These processes of “mercantilization of knowledge” is vital of nation-states in global competition in the information age.


On Knowledge: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • The consequences of Information-Technologicalization on knowledge

    • From the ivory tower of university to the market of global patent
      • In modern age, knowledge generation and creation are endowed dominantly to universities and their departments and laboratories
      • In knowledge economy, the competitiveness of firms and states depend on their capacities of applying technologies on knowledge. As a result, knowledge generation and transmission are on longer confined to the purviews of the higher-education institutes and have become the primary concerns and endeavors of firms and governments. (Lyotard, 1979; Guile, 2006) As a result, knowledge for truth has given way to knowledge for performativity. (Lyotard, 1979)


On Knowledge: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • The consequences of Information-Technologicalization on knowledge

    • From the knowledge system to knowledge network: The epistemological change
      • Knowledge is perceived as systems, each of which possesses definite boundary and structure, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc.; and the inquiry of knowledge is conceived as solid paths with definite objectives and well-structured procedures.
      • Knowledge is perceived as networks, which of each appears to be a configuration of data, information, ideas and propositions with no definite boundary or hierarchy; and the knowledge- construction process is conceived as exercises of pastiche and hybridization


On Knowledge: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • The consequences of Information-Technologicalization on knowledge

    • From the world of atoms and bits: The ontological change
      • Atoms and the world of atoms: “Atoms belong to the physical world…and to the world which can be captured in ‘analogue’ forms.” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2003, p. 51)
      • Bits and the digital world: “Bits belong to the digital world. They are ‘state of being’ like ‘on or off, true or false, up or down, in or out, back or white’ which can be represented in binary code of 0s and 1s in a colourless, sizeless, weightless form that can be ‘moved’ at the speed of light.” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2003, p. 51)


On Knowledge: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • The modernist epistemology

    • Modernist conception of epistemology
      • The known: A proposition of the world is existentially real in natural or cultural sense
      • The knowner: An inquiring agent is endowed with sensual and mental capacities to inquire truth embedded in the proposition of the world
      • The process of coming to know: A methodical process of verifying or justifying the truth embedded in a proposition
      • The knowledge: A system of justified and true propositions of the world


On Knowledge: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • The modernist epistemology

    • The modernist institution of knowledge
      • Institution of knowledge production: Universities, laboratories and research institutes
      • Institution of knowledge dissemination: Institutions of authorship, publication and readership
      • Institution of knowledge transmission: Institution of schooling (including curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation) and textbook publication


On Knowledge: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Digital epistemology

    • Conception of digital epistemology
      • Changes in the known:
        • From physical space to cyberspace; from atoms to bits; from the world of analogues to the world of binary or digital states of being
        • From physical reality to virtual reality
      • Changes in the knower
        • Collaborative knowers
        • Temporally and spatially compressed or even evaporated footings of knowners
        • Virtual knowers: Knowers with freely chosen avatars (frame of reference)


On Knowledge: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Digital epistemology

    • Conception of digital epistemology
      • Changes in the process of come to know
        • Research for truth has been replaced by research for fund and/or power
        • Education for humanity and emancipation has been replaced by education for employability and governability
        • Delegitimation of modernist project of coming to know
        • “Relegitimation” of the process of coming to know by performativity


On Knowledge: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Digital epistemology

    • Conception of digital epistemology
      • Changes in knowledge
        • Knowledge of performativity age:
        • Regression of knowledge to data and/or information
        • Degradation of theory of signification and theory of knowledge


On Knowledge: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Digital epistemology

    • The digital institution of knowledge
      • Institution of knowledge production: R&D departments of multinational corporations, and government commissioned projects have become the major driving force of knowledge generating machines.
      • Institution of knowledge dissemination: Hypertexts and hyperlinks have replaced institutions of authorship, publication and readership.
      • Institution of knowledge transmission: Face-to-face and hierarchical schooling systems have been losing ground to learning network of hyperlinks and hypertexts in compressed space and time.


On Education: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Education as coming to be literate

    • What is literacy?
    • “Literacy…is about the capacity of accessing, managing, integrating, evaluating and creating information to develop one’s knowledge and potential, and to participate in, and contribute to, society.” (Schleicher, 2003, p.3)
    • Reading and writing literacy:
      • “At the centre of literacy is reading literacy, defined...as the ability to use, interpret and reflect on written material.” (Schleicher, 2003, p.3)
      • Writing literacy It is an capacity of encoding the world into literal information, i.e. words.
      • Reading literacy is an capacity of decoding literal information and retrieving it back to the world it intended to represent.


On Education : Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Education as coming to be literate

    • James Paul Gee’s three-dimensional model of literacy
      • Operational literacy: It refers to the mastery of the technical dimensions of a language. This may include
        • Lexicology 辭彙學
        • Phonology 音韻學
        • Semantics 語意學
        • Grammar 文法
        • Syntax study 句子結構研究
        • Pragmatics 句子運用研究


On Education : Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Education as coming to be literate

    • James Paul Green’s three-dimensional model of literacy
      • Cultural literacy: It “involves competence with meaning system of a social practice, knowing how to make and grasp meanings appropriately within the practice ─ in short, of understanding texts in relation to contexts.” (Lankshear and Knobel, 2003, P. 11)
      • D. Hirsch Jr. (1987) Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know.


On Education : Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Education as coming to be literate

    • James Paul Green’s three-dimensional model of literacy
      • Critical literacy: It “involves awareness that all social practices, and thus all literacies, are socially constructed and ‘selective’. … If individuals are socialized into a social practice without realizing that it is socially constructed and selective, and that it can be acted on and transformed, they cannot play an active role in changing it.” (Lankshear and Knobel, 2003, P. 11)
      • Paulo Freire (1972) Pedagogy of the Oppressed.


On Education: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Conception of literacy in modernist epistemology

    • Literacy is defined as the capacity of encoding and decoding meanings from literal texts. Accordingly, literacy is a literal capacity.
    • Literacy is defined as the capacity of mediating the word-world relation embedded in literal texts. According literacy is an epistemological capacity.
    • Cultural literacy is defined as the capacity of understanding the significant meaning embodied in literal texts and/or social and cultural practices.
    • Critical literacy is defined as capacity of revealing the legitimation process underlying the knowledge and cultural meanings embedded in literal texts and/or social and cultural practices.


On Education: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Conception of literacy in digital epistemology

    • Text-based literacy has been replaced by literacy of hypertext as well as IT apparatus of hyperlink. Literacy is no longer conceived simply as capacity of decoding and recoding of typographic representations, but is required to expand to icongraphic, sound, motion, semiotic representations, i.e. hypertexts.
    • The epistemological literacy of word-world relationship has been replaced literacy of relationship between hypertext and virtual reality. In short, the word-world relation, which is supposed to be the empirical basis of epistemological literacy, has practically evaporated in the face of information-technologicalized world.


On Education: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Conception of literacy in digital epistemology

    • The cultural literacy of understanding the significant meanings of a given national society has been replaced by the multi-cultural literacy or even hybrid-cultural literacy. As social and national meanings signified and embedded in literal texts has been eroded by hypertexts and hyperlinks, cultural meanings have lost their national and communal footholds.
    • Critical literacy in modernist epistemology usually builds it criticism against dominations of social class, patriarchy, colonialism, etc. As these dominations go global and lose their communal and national footholds, critical literacy in digital epistemology has yet to find its “multitude”, which could aggregate and mobilize massive participants in social movements in global scale and under multiple agenda.


On Education: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Education as coming to master skills: Stages of learning and the effectiveness of (CMI) Computer Assisted Instruction (IT literacy)

    • Novice and advance beginner: CMI can serve as drillmaster in practicing motor or intellectual skills. For advanced beginner these practices can be simulated in difference situations.
    • Competence: “Competent performers seek rules and reasoning procedures to decide which plan or perspective to adopt.” (p. 36)
    • Proficiency: “The proficient performer immersed in the world of his skillful activities, see what needs to be done, but has to decide how to do it.” (p. 41)
    • Expertise: “The expert not only see what needs to be achieved, thanks to his vast repertoire of situational discriminations, he also sees immediately how to achieve his goal.” (p. 41)


On Education: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Education as coming to master skills: Stages of learning and the effectiveness of (CMI) Computer Assisted Instruction

    • Mastery: Mastery refers to performers who have developed their own “style” in performances.
    • Practical wisdom: “Not only do people have to acquire skills by imitating the style of experts in specific domains; they have to acquire the style of their culture in order to gain what Aristotle calls practice wisdom. …Like embodied commonsense understanding, cultural style is too embodied to captured in a theory, and passed on by body.


On Education: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Education as coming to know the world: Through embodied-presence or tele-presence

    • Sense of reality: In embodied-presence, such as face to face instruction or participant observation, one can have concrete grips of sense of distance, understanding of the context, and sense of risk and uncertainty. While in tele-presence, such as video-tape instruction or videoconferencing, all these grips and senses would be lost.
    • Sense of interaction: In embodied-presence participants, such as teachers and students can have direct contact and touch, uncertain and risky maneuvering and/or exchanges, and most of all “look each other right into the eyes”
    • Sense of trust: In embodied-presence participant can build up trustful relationship with the environments and each other. This in turn will constitute sense of belonging to the space of place and the presence of group.


On Education: Impacts of Knowledge Society

  • Education as coming to invest in the present age: Commitment to modern pilgrimage or nihilism and anonymity in the information highway.

    • Anonymity in situation of tele-presence vs. embodied presence of recognition, name and identity
    • Risk-free and non-consequence-bearing situations in the Net vs. situations of responsibility-bearing and commitment
    • Existence of nihilism vs. existence of pilgrimage






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