As emergence shook biology loose from physics in the 20th century, emergence will pry preconceived curricula from the natural networking of knowledge. So far, the education establishment has shrugged off the emergence of knowledge online, and hence is blithely unaware that human learning is entering a global golden age.
Paul Davies described in Edge, how scientists have had to stop shrugging and work to understand the reality and power of emergence:
Although scientists have long had an inclination to shrug aside such questions concerning the source of the laws of physics, the mood has now shifted considerably. Part of the reason is the growing acceptance that the emergence of life in the universe, and hence the existence of observers like ourselves, depends rather sensitively on the form of the laws. If the laws of physics were just any old ragbag of rules, life would almost certainly not exist. [First published as an OpEd piece by The New York Times, November 24, 2007]
Davies writes from the perspective of complexity science, which includes the probing of networks. In the 20th century, as DNA was understood and the functioning of biology was studied at increasing depths of complexity, physicists were toppled from their kingship of science. Emergence, Organization & Dynamics of Living Systems (as the Santa Fe Institute calls it) has taken a place next to physics in our understanding of science and the cosmos. We are overdue in placing emergence as a pillar of pedagogy.
The rise of the internet has caused what is known by humankind to relocate into the network matrix formed by the open internet. Because knowledge itself is a network — as is our brain where we use and emerge knowledge — knowledge does what comes naturally when it gets into the internet: it emerges. In an elegance too beautiful to be untrue, knowledge on the internet resonates with knowledge in the learning mind. They mirror each other as the mind learns and thinks about the emergent knowledge it encounters online.
The education establishment did not create online emergent knowledge anymore than the physicists created emergent life. Both are discoveries. Knowledge has always emerged in our minds — but very new is the internet matrix where knowledge can emerge virtually for us to study and learn.
BTW: Social networking is something entirely different than the networking of knowledge. Both are huge for learning. Social networking, as it relates to education, has to do with people interacting about knowledge. Emergent knowledge is about algebra interacting with calculus, French history emerging from Roman Gaul, the ecology of rice connecting to theories of famine — all the stuff like that which is known, learned, and thought about by humankind.