Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Is the Internet Forming Collective Intelligence?

Society is changing and higher education is in a process of adapting to that change. The Internet has been a major catalyst in that change as new forms of collective intelligence is being created. Higher education is in a transitional period moving from traditional to virtual models to keep up with that change. An article on collective intelligence discusses the possibilities of greater change as different forms of intelligence find their way onto the Net (Medeiros,et. al., 2014).

Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences helps us realize that intelligence can’t be measured by simple IQ alone. A single measurement of intelligence as a basis of our education system is subjective by nature. The knowledge accepted, scrubbed and published by higher education limited innovative development. Multiple forms of intelligence are forming new knowledge outside of traditional systems. 

These intelligences include linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily-kinaesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and natural. Each intelligence taps into a different human capacity to perceive and understand the environment. Higher education predominately focuses on a couple of different types of intelligences but the Internet is forming its own collective form of knowledge through the expression of multiple intelligences.

The Internet is offering opportunities to create collective intelligence based upon these multiple ways of understanding through the adaptation and integration of knowledge. People can now be co-creators in the knowledge generation process and are no longer forced to think about issues from a singular vantage point. The Internet has cracked open the vault of expression.

As information continues to spread through the use of modern technology it will generate new forms of collective intelligence. Multitudes of people will form around specific interests and begin to build new forms of knowledge as they share their interest and understandings. The faster this process occurs the quicker the development of societies.  

The information will also challenge existing institutions in higher education, government and civic arenas much like the printing press challenged previous forms. As scientific knowledge spread, church teachings were questioned, and governments adapted to new systems because knowledge led to higher levels of collective intelligence. An era of enlightenment ensued that led to the scientific advantages we still use today. The Internet is the next great printing press that will change all that it touches. 

Medeiros, V. et. al. (2014). Connecting multiple intelligences through open and distance learning: going towards a collective intelligence? European Journal of Open Distance & E-Learning, 17 (1).

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