Ask the Internet – Digital Orders of Knowledge via a Brief History of Search Engines
The way in which questions are asked influences the response to them: Do the thoughts come in a flow of inspiration, or does panic break out, as in an exam? The type of question and its context help determine how knowledge manifests itself. We who work in education know of the complex paths upon which knowledge is articulated and produced – where it flares up, makes an impression, and captures our imagination, or maybe is contested. Knowledge is not something that can be retrieved or transferred at the push of a button. But this is how online searches are conceived: we ask Google something, and it delivers us the relevant information. We have become so used to this automated process that it now seems natural and unproblematic to us. But technological systems, too, have their own contingencies. This article outlines the order of knowledge underpinning online searches, introduces key concepts from critical discourses around technology, and situates them in relation to an institution-critical concept of education.

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