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6.2 Shaping knowledge

It seems inevitable that any understandings we have will have been shaped and influenced by other (past and present) members of the same culture(s) we belong to. Most of these influences ‘just happen’: they arise out of our experiences as part of a culture whose members have had their experiences and shared them over many centuries. However, knowledge can also be deliberately influenced by powerful elements within a society: as we saw in Section 5.3, the church suppressed Galileo's r
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5.7 Summary

This section of the unit has made you aware that:

  • science is formed by a community of practice, creating knowledge and requiring a special language for its communication;

  • there is a difference between objective scientific methods and subjective ways of knowing;

  • political power influences scientific discoveries, and scientific knowledge is always socially embedded;

  • public understanding and perception of scien
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5.5 How society constructs scientific thinking

To understand science, it is important that we appreciate the contexts in which discoveries are made or suppressed. We can see from the account on the previous page that human understanding of the universe has changed significantly over time. The social and political climate in which scientists work has always had a profound influence on what can and cannot be said, done, published or even postulated as worthy of further investigation. (You could undertake a similar study of the debates on hu
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5.2 Scientists as a community of practice

Science has been described as involving observation, description, categorisation, investigation, experimentation and formation of theoretical explanations for naturally occurring phenomena – activities performed by scientists using scientific methods.

Jacob Bronowski (1973) said, ‘That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to a pertinent answer’ – an apt way to put it, as with science, we set off from a starting point of curiosity an
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1.5 Talking, thinking and learning

One of the main points which the unit will be making is that information and knowledge are not the same thing and that, in order to learn, learners have to engage actively with new information. We hope that you will learn to apply your growing knowledge by relating it to your professional context, and that, by questioning and analysing both theory and practice, you will be able to reach your own conclusions.

One way of engaging with knowledge is to ask questions. Earlier we suggested th
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4.3 What about communities?

The last activity looked at the key roles from the perspective of Lynne and Arthur as individuals, but in fact it also says that working with ‘families, carers, groups and communities’ is necessary. Do you think that Dev should also be taking account of the Durrants as a family, as carers and as members of a community? Dev's role in assessing Arthur's needs means that he should also take account of his family circumstances, in other words, Lynne and perhaps her sister. Lynne also has
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What If Public Schools Were Abolished?

[Day 27 of Robert Wenzel's 30-day reading list that will lead you to become a knowledgeable libertarian, this Mises Daily was originally published April 7, 2008.]

In American culture, public schools are praised in public and criticized in p
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The Forecast Factory
The Forest Factory classroom exercise is an introduction to the topic of weather forecasting. Students role-play the various elements in forecasting process such as equations, announcers, data analysts, and airplanes. By following the script, the students will summarize the entire process in a single class period. This lesson plan is well suited to large classes in lecture-hall settings. This Starting Point website provides a discussion and summary of this teaching method as well as extensions t
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"The United States and the Arab World: Sources of Antagonism, Prospects for Accommodation"
wbh logoA talk by Salim Yaqub, Assistant Professor of History, U. of Chicago; moderated by Marda Dunsky, Assistant Professor at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. From the World Beyond the Headlines Series.
Author(s): The Center for International Studies at the Univer

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Sergei Gukov, Quantization and Categorification, Lecture 2
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2012 African Health OER Network Impact Study

The current impact study follows on from two earlier evaluations of the project.

A formative evaluation of the Design Phase completed at the end of 2009 focused mainly on OER ‘take-up’ and production in the partner institutions (OER Africa 2009). This evaluation concluded that expectations and contractual targets had been met, or exceed
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Basics of dividing with negative numbers. (04:52)
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