How do we know that what we know is actually so?

I have a crescent moon symbol at the top of my iPhone and thought it represented the stages of the moon. I saw that it was a crescent shape today but knew that it was full moon because I had seen it last night and the moon was actually still up when I got up today. I did a Google search and the crescent moon symbol means that I have had my phone set to “do not disturb” all along. That is why I don’t hear calls or texts when the phone is off. I thought my phone was just getting old and selective with ringing.

This showed me how easily we assume something and don’t question it. It made me think of students navigating through a course and thinking that maybe something that doesn’t seem quite right is just meant to be like that. It has taught me the importance of regular assessment and feedback as well as the value of frequent reflection. Assumptions can completely distort the learning and I now see how critical it is for learners to be given the opportunity to share what they have learned in discussion forums or blog posts because often when you talk or write about a concept you may realize something does not quite fit. I used Google which is just like a discussion and was enlightened that the crescent symbol, which I had seen my whole life on calendars representing the crescent moon phase, now suddenly meant “do not disturb”.

My question is, do we know that what we know is actually so? How can we be sure? Could our “fact” actually be a misleading “myth” that we pass on?

My next question is, how do we know that what someone else knows is actually so? Do we base it on the history of their expertise, or their charismatic convincing speech, or perhaps their credentials or is just because they have a superior position.

My challenge to all learners is use your analytical and critical thinking skills and make up your own mind.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

About Karin Potgieter

Originally from South Africa, I have been privileged to enjoy the beautiful lifestyle of Canada. My career in Early Childhood Education has been motivating, ranging from the endearing relationships with the children and families of the Preschool that I owned to the inspirational interactions with my students as instructor of the Early Childhood Education Certificate Program. My qualifications include a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, Early Childhood Education Certificate, Provincial Instructors Diploma and en route to completing the Certificate in Online/eLearning Instruction.
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