Many of us are talking about the need to shift learning in the direction of creation, rather than consumption, of knowledge. Students and teachers have the capability to create and share in ways that they never have before in human history.
I have proposed that the cognitasphere includes both the body of knowledge as it exists and evolves, and the process of creating, teaching, transferring, managing, and learning that knowledge. It represents the total of all the answers to all the questions that have been asked in the past, as well as the process of asking questions that will create new knowledge in the future.
What does this actually look like? Like this:
It is simple: all of the flat mesa tops represent what we already know. The canyons, the voids in between the mesa tops, represent gaps in our knowledge, unexplored or unanswered questions, unexplored or under-explored regions in the map of human knowledge. The process of the creation of knowledge is equally simple: new knowledge fills in or bridges a little piece of canyon. A bridge actually connects two areas of previously unconnected or only distally connected knowledge. A bridge of a canyon is the ultimate “thought outside the box”!
It is the nature of the cognitasphere to manage these mesa tops and fill in these canyons. It will be the nature of schools to prepare students to become active members of the cognitasphere.
Teachers can set a simple goal for themselves and their students: after each unit, term, or year, reflect back and see where and how we filled in or bridged a bit of a canyon, where we created knowledge that did not previously exist. Does it have to be groundbreaking original Nobel Prize research? Of course not! Even authentic opinion adds a bit to the sum of our knowledge, certainly more so than regurgitation of someone else’s ideas.
But here is the key: you as teacher must only present the map, the image, the setting. You must create a vista of potential interest such that each student finds a worthwhile canyon to explore from HIS OR HER point of view. Then they will inquire with the energy and creativity we cherish, the self-direction of engagement. They will learn the passion of exploration on their own, the self-evolution of learning.
And that is what we want education to look like.