Background: The educational knowledge domain may be understood as a system composed of multiple, co-evolving networks that reflect the form and content of a cultural field. This paper describes the educational knowledge domain as having a community structure (form) based in relations of production (authoring) and consumption (referencing), and a cognitive structure (content) based in relations of ideas and concepts.
Purpose: We propose developing an online interactive system whereby the vast array of available knowledge artifacts can be mined for information reflective of these networks, and which can be visualized, measured, and explored over time. We argue that the creation of such a system will benefit the field of education manifold: it will greatly enhance individual learning of online materials; create more efficient searches; open access to knowledge creation and consumption to a wider public; enable greater practitioner involvement; facilitate direct study of the educational knowledge domain; and identify various means towards accelerated innovation.
Design: Building on the ideas of online communities, network visualizations, e-commerce, and advanced search engines, Scholar Practitioner Information Networks for Education (SPINE) not only facilitates access to education information resources, but also allows the community to view multiple sources of information in a relational context. At the heart of SPINE are multiple sources of information (journal articles, case studies, reviews, etc.), reviews of information, and ratings of reviewers. Connecting these sources are advanced analyses of production and consumption, allowing unique insights into established fields.
Conclusion: We illustrate that such a system is being developed in piecemeal fashion within other disciplines and propose a means by which they can be synthesized into a multi-network, interactive system for the field of education.