In both cases, it's observed that there is an over reliance on artifacts/containers (books. articles, etc. - things that attempt to express someone else's knowledge) as sources of knowledge, rather than on creating knowledge by conversing with those sources (i.e., internal dialogues we all have when we interact with any new piece of data).
|via Flickr CC, by giso6150|
To paraphrase Lankes (from pp. 40-41): Artifacts do not contain knowledge. Knowledge exists in your head. Knowledge is dynamic and personal.
The result, as Fister succinctly summarizes, is "When sources are viewed as containers, it potentially diverts attention away from the content of the sources themselves."
As a result of all this internal dialogue on my part, I've been trying to come up with a better way of stressing this to students who attend my instructional sessions (many of whom, as you are probably aware, just want to know how to satisfy the requirements of whatever assignment they have - they want the "How" rather than the "What" or the "Why." Trying to change this focus, I believe, could have a positive impact on students critical thinking, transliteracy and basic research agility when it comes to handling the wide variety of information sources (and assignments) they will come into contact with during their academic career and beyond.
This is what I have so far, as a draft starting point (and obviously, heavily influenced by Lankes and Fister); as an argument. How I make it so that it appeals/impacts students, I haven't yet worked out:
First a couple of questions:
- Is a journal article or a book considered knowledge?
- How many of you have come here thinking I'm just going to show you how to find stuff; pieces of knowledge?
When you read a journal article, or, for example, as you are listening to/reading this now, each of you is having an internal dialogue with yourself. Right now you may be thinking something like this: "Dana is talking nonsense" or "ok, that makes sense!" The bottom line is that, for example, a peer-reviewed journal article is not the word of law. It is not knowledge. YOU create knowledge by interacting with/conversing about (with yourself, with your classmates, with your professor) that piece of information.
My challenge to you, as you embark on your academic career, is to learn and talk about and add to your chosen discipline, rather than simply finding sources of information and copy and pasting that information into your papers. Create rather than regurgitate!