Forum .LRN Q&A: Response to Request for Comment: dotLRN Technology Governance
An essential skill enables the reader in such contexts. It is the skill of abductive logic (Peirce, 1902) (Shank, 1993). The goal in abductive logic is not ultimate truth. It is the ability to advance one's inquiry, to shed further light on the problem at hand. Abductive logic is the logic of signs: the ability to extract meaning from a given set of circumstances and then to adjust one's inquiry as new information unfolds. The skill of Eco's 'Brother William' is a critical skill in an age of information.
The fundamental characteristic of the Internet is that it cannot be controlled. While local legislation can influence pockets of control, the Internet is a world wide phenomenon, with no one in charge, (with everyone in charge). The role of education in the age of information will be the development of disciplined readers, skilled in the art of abductive logic. Since we can no longer filter and select proper materials for our students, our highest calling as educators will be to support students in developing such discipline for themselves.
This is where the modern and postmodern minds collide. To the modern mind, there is too much information. The world is exploding with ideas and perspectives that cannot possibly be consumed. To the modern mind, we must control what people read so that truth might prevail over misinformation, so that quality might prevail over mediocrity, so that correct ideas might prevail over anarchy. But to the postmodern mind, attempts to control information are futile and naive. What control exists in the postmodern world will emerge -- not from the center, but from the periphery. This paper suggests strategies for enabling such peripheral control.