Monday, January 09, 2012

Knowledge as landscape.

Looking around at a landscape one experiences the shapes and context of the physical environment. As we sweep our vision across the vista we take in the different views and develop a picture in our mind of what it is that we are seeing. We never see the whole vista at once, yet in our mind we can piece it all together. We move our vision across, imagining the parts now out of sight as we see the parts that are coming into view, piecing it all together by blending memories and vision into a cohesive whole. It is this built vision of the landscape that we know, not the actual landscape itself.

Knowledge of a landscape can act as a metaphor for knowledge itself. It can be something outside of ourselves that we can traverse and experience. It doesn't have to be something we own, it can be something we interact with. And like the physical landscape, we can build pictures of different detail and perspectives of that knowledge. The knowledge we build in our minds is not the things we know, it is our interpretation, or vision, of that knowledge. The more we traverse the landscape of knowledge the richer the experience becomes.

When knowledge is viewed this way the debate on the importance of content in education become superfluous. The content is the landscape. Do we shackle learners to stand facing a certain direction so that they learn only that content? Or do we point out the importance of the different aspects as they themselves scan and move about within the landscape?

Image: EA /

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