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WHAT DO WE DO WITH KNOWLEDGE?
Initiatives towards freedom in teaching and freedom in learning


M. SESHAGIRI
Hyderabad, A.P. India

What do we do with knowledge? Shall we say the answer as “We share”? Because, we share knowledge among ourselves, which means to give and take knowledge. We take knowledge at one end (learning) and give it at another end (teaching). But do we have freedom and opportunity to learn whatever, wherever and whenever we want? Similarly, do we have freedom and opportunity to teach whatever, wherever and whenever we want? With the availability of advanced multimedia and web technologies, can we not work towards betterment of learning and teaching activities of mankind? This paper addresses these questions.

For practical purposes, we may define our goals as under:

a) To enable teacher to develop content independently with freedom to teach what he wants, irrespective of the place and time of teaching;
b) To enable student to learn independently with freedom to learn what he wants, irrespective of the place and time of learning.

BACKGROUND

Problem of Students:
From the point of view of freedom to learn, the following questions are pertinent:
• Why it is not possible for a student of Physics to study Botany in similar situation to classroom session (not reading Botany books)?
• Why rural people have to move to urban places to get better education?
• Why knowledge levels of people in different places differ even though they have similar levels of intelligence?
• Why some students are lucky to get good teachers and can understand the subject in depth, while others are not lucky even to meet the good teachers to get their doubts clarified?
Well written books may be available in good libraries, but for a new topic students prefer to hear from a teacher rather than reading a book. Availability of good teacher for every student is the most essential in education system, but practically it is not possible in any country.

One may take pride in his degrees and qualifications, but in a philosophical tone, what we know is just the result of time we had spent in the past. It includes our personal effort and opportunities that we got in the past. There are many people in the world who are equally or more intelligent than the highly qualified intellectuals. When Nature provided men with intelligence why not knowledge? Why knowledge is not freely available everywhere like air and sunshine? The gulf between haves and have-nots in knowledge has greater impact on mankind than economic inequalities.

Problem of Teachers - Freedom to teach
From the point of view of teaching, will it be possible for a teacher to communicate beyond the limits of DESA(place) and KALA(time)? “Standing on the shoulders of masters”, man is progressing in knowledge. But the pace of this growth is not in tune with the possibilities. Experts lack opportunities to communicate themselves fully. The expert’s knowledge, if not communicated to others in his lifetime, will be lost forever. He may write books / articles, but he may not communicate fully in the book. He may be good in communicating orally than in writing. Oral communication is limited to DESA (place) and KALA (time). It was said that there are very few people who can understand what Einstein told. Now, in the age of information technology, why it is not possible to make every Physics student to understand what Einstein said. Can we not create environment to spread the knowledge of experts to all students wherever & whenever?

Problem of Organizations – Necessity to impart knowledge to all employees:
Companies prefer that all their employees are well informed in their job knowledge. From the employee’s view, job knowledge is required only to get promotion and good career, but from the organization’s point of view, knowledge of employee is an asset to the company and very essential for the growth of the company. But, how organizations can ensure that all employees get equal and complete job knowledge?


End of Part-1 - Please send feedback to madupu.seshagiri@gmail.com

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