Academic journal article Journal of Technology Studies

Digital Intelligence Fostered by Technology

Academic journal article Journal of Technology Studies

Digital Intelligence Fostered by Technology

Article excerpt

Through interaction with digital technologies for work, play, and communication, our pattern for intellectual development is being altered. The multiple intelligences theoretical framework developed by Gardner (1983) is easily employed to provide evidence that yet another intelligence, digital intelligence, has emerged. In our postmodern pluralistic global culture, the multiple intelligences theory has enjoyed success and has impacted teaching practice. By acknowledging the existence of a new digital intelligence and all of the implications this acknowledgement may create for education and communication, we increase our ability to develop effective strategies to accommodate this new intellectual style.

Gardner ( 1999) encountered evidence that did not easily fit in his original model of multiple intelligences and he supposes more intelligence categories to accommodate his observations. Gardner submitted two additional distinct intelligences: moral intelligence and spiritual intelligence. He also pondered that besides these two new vessels for containment even more information has emerged that surrounds the intellectual virtuosos he described as "symbol analysts" and "masters of change." Could these observed but unclassified characteristics be the indication of an emerging intelligence that is being fostered by human interaction with digital technologies?

Knowledge, Ways of Knowing, and Intelligence

Information is a fluid that often takes on no form until a pattern is discovered that appears to take into consideration that many possibilities for assemblage exist, but settles on the most accommodating. As with most strong models and theories, the multiple intelligences theory has defined rules for organization of information that will accommodate new evidence in such a way that will further extend the organization and therefore substantiate existing understanding and work to create new knowledge. To facilitate a discussion of intelligence, one must posses an understanding of the relationship between knowledge, modes of knowing, and intelligence. While each has a distinct definition, all exist in an interactive relationship.


Knowledge can very broadly be defined as what we know or believe to exist. Many conceptions of the organization of knowledge exist. "The task of demarcating kinds of knowledge is not unlike that of demarcating different territories on a map. As there are different kinds of maps of territory, so there are different kinds of maps of knowledge" (Schrag, 1992, p. 268). Machlup (1980), in the first volume of his proposed eight volume set entitled Knowledge: Its Creation, Distribution, and Economic Significance, created a classification for the types of knowledge by grouping what we are able to know into discrete categories such as mundane knowledge, scientific knowledge, humanistic knowledge, social-science knowledge, and artistic knowledge. A discussion of the many knowledge classification systems is beyond the scope of this article. Machlup's classification is mentioned to illustrate one conception of knowledge as "what we know."

Ways of Knowing

The modes of knowing or ways of knowing endeavor to describe the human process of internalizing knowledge. Eisner (1985), in his preface to Learning and Teaching the Ways of Knowing, described his editing assumptions:

Since contexts change, the capacities of mind themselves alter. The roads to knowledge are many. Knowledge is not defined by any single system of thought, but is diverse. What people know is expressed in the cultural resources present in all cultures, (p. 3)

Included as topics in this collection of modes of knowing are aesthetic, scientific, interpersonal, narrative, formal, practical, and spiritual ways of knowing.

The question of what knowledge is most worthy of knowing and by which mode of knowing this knowledge is to be internalized is often cultural but is ultimately a personal deci-yX sion. …

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