Eight sixth grade teachers were asked to comment on how their classroom community has changed (or been disrupted) in recent years as a result of new opportunities to use technology in their classrooms. You will hear a central theme of how google docs have transformed how they teach. Listen carefully to the discussion about the advantages these tools have provided as well as (a few) disadvantages that they have had to address. In general, classrooms have become more fluid, allowing for more collaboration on a daily basis. Additionally, the flexibility of working both inside and outside the classroom/school allows for more innovative ways for students to interact with new content as well as being able to work on projects anytime, anywhere. And of course, we have connected their thoughts to the Wenger reading for this week.
Recently in Community Category
Our given challenge for the week is to yet again hitch up the wagons and recursively circle Community, Identity, and Design. The 'design' of this course overtly prompts us as participants to continually return and reassess our understandings of these three themes through habits of mind, modes of participation, and social practices and processes that revisit our core themes within the contexts of learning and teaching. Recursive practice is a repetition of a procedure. Our readings and blog posts recursively draw us into readings and writings surrounding the three core themes, yet although we repeat the procedure, our encounters are not returns to static points but new encounters with something known before but now seen in a new light, through a new lens. Our journeys as individuals, as teams, and as a larger class tint our 'looking glass' in particular ways. Indeed our lenses are likely 'tinted' in ways that differ from classes, individuals, and teams before us because of our community and individual identities, our shared repertoires.
Google Doc as Our Learning Map
Nearly two-thirds of the way through the course, the metaphor of the journey seems appropriate for the ways we may consider our synthesis post at this point. Surely, journey has taken on literal meaning for us as we venture out to 'occupy' learning in various spaces across campus. Journeys connote movement along paths and may include discovery and perhaps new understandings. Adopting the journey metaphor as the lens through which we consider this week's post, we look back reflexively at the path behind us. Reflexivity permits us to consider how our own individual processes of coming to know and consider the core themes formed along the journey. Our mode of participation for reading discussion has been writing via the Google Doc established at the start of the semester. Although our team has utilized other modes (Skype & Google Hangout discussions and in-person meetings) and other media (email & Flikr), our written work in the Google Doc reflects our immediate, and necessarily "rough", reactions to the readings and our encounters with learning in classroom spaces. Consequently, we chose to look back at the path we charted in our collective Google Doc as the material trail with which to analyze and our journey.
Visualizing Perceptions with Many Eyes
Our in-class discussion of IBM's online visualization tool Many Eyes revealed a potential path to blend our team's interest in visuals along with our reflections on the course readings. Visuals are used in many ways in the research community and in learning contexts. More traditional conceptions of visuals are used as illustrations for topics discussed in the written portion of the text. However, visuals can also provide new perspectives, new ways of looking and of learning. In our case, our looking through the glass of Many Eyes provided a sort of evolution of synthesis from illustration to new, previously unknown or unseen perspectives on our own work.
Many Eyes offers a range of visual representations for data, both numeric and written text. Our interest in using a word-based document limited our options to Word Tree, Tag Cloud, Phrase Net, and Word Cloud Generator. Word Tree and Phrase Net appear to be the best options for visualizing relationships along our journey. Word Tree functions upon the principle that the researcher must specify the coordinating or primary focus for the tree with the selection of core words. The natural choices appeared to be our themes for the post. The first tree "Community of Practice" is displayed below; however, this visualization appears to merely function in the traditional sense, restating or illustrating text. No clear 'new ways of seeing' were gained.
A similar restatement of text was found when the Word Tree was used for identity and design. Again, neither visualization appeared to 'say' anything new. However, when the medium was changed, the meaning became visible rather than simply text. Uploading our Google Doc to Many Eyes and using the Phrase Net analysis tool channeled our writing into an analysis path that looked for relationships or themes that surfaced in our writing. In other words, rather than specifying search criteria prior to creating the visualization as an illustration of text, Phrase Net facilitated our discovery of ideas that were important to us in our recursive practice of examining the themes through written discussion.
Please select the link above to view the full image of the relationships that Phrase Net revealed.
Note that relative importance is depicted through larger font size and relationships among topics or concepts are indicated with arrows of varying density corresponding to the emphasis we gave those concepts in our written discussion.
Adopting a reflexive lens, we discovered that Phrase Net not only created a visualization of our document but also permitted us to look through the surface-level glass of our course themes to see the substance of our discussions - the entanglement of ideas, priorities, and journeys. This new lens helped us come to know and understand our own learning (embodied in our Google Doc) and the themes of community, identity and design not as destinations but as vehicles that have brought us through journeys that emphasize learning as social, distributed, and situated as we consider readings (primarily Wenger as a pivotal influence), spaces, and identities.
Layered Visual Understandings
The image can be read in many ways that help us consider major and minor threads. Following what appear to be minor threads in the visualization, for example, reveals converging pathways to larger meanings. The 'blog' connects to 'post' via a slightly larger thread and follows through to 'shared' 'language' 'making' 'meaning' in a parallel construction with the 'post' connecting to 'shared' 'technology'. These threads convene through 'design', 'social', and 'learning'. 'Learning' looms as a larger surface formed through the contributing threads of 'social' and 'design', and in turn feeds 'community', 'space', 'contexts', 'identities', and our occupy learning destinations.
There is an inherent value in exploring our work reflexively through the Phrase Net visualization as it brings the essence of our interests as a community of practice to the visible surface. Synthesis as recursive practice in this course then serves as a check-point to not only explore the course themes but to also reflexively consider our own positions an identities as collaborating peers in terms of the purpose for our practice, our mutual engagement, and our shared repertoire. Our visualization emphasizes our inherent interests to continually address learning as social and community centered. Although overtly examining community, identity, and design on a weekly basis, the strength of our journey is learner centered and social in nature - just where we'd like it to be.
The following video, set in film trailer format, employs Wenger's thoughts (the text portions) with imagery and music to communicate several core notions about communities of practice. The images that follow each text frame provide various examples from contemporary society. The video is intended for viewers familiar with Wenger.
Wenger Article Debriefing (5 min)
This week we finished off Wenger's book. We read about (among other things) participation versus non-participation, modes of belonging, learning communities, and education. We've bulleted a few questions that we raised while reading and invite the class to add some more that we can discuss later today.
- Why do students not participate?
- Is non-participation different from refusal to participate?
- Is non-participation necessarily a bad thing?
- How can we "anchor imagination into a learning community" and harness students' engagement into the classroom?
- Why do we do the things we do? What imaginative and alignment purposes guide our actions?
- What is the trade-off between having multiple viewpoints involved in engagement and having a single alignment and purpose?
- What is the relevance of schools in creating communities of learning?
- Does participation require that someone respond to me?
"There is no point going [to the TLT Symposium] unless the new perspectives we gain in the process can find a realization in a new form of engagement upon our return" (Wenger, p. 217).
We have just discussed the symposium as a class, but we want to discuss what we've learned this week from Wenger and "remix" that with what we've learned from the Symposium. Let's break into groups, talk about our experiences, and then come back together again as a class to discuss what we've learned.
Example: One of the TLT projects involved assigning medical students a project to film patients with chronic illnesses. How did this project enable those students to not only be formed by learning medical knowledge but to be transformed by learning how to engage with members of a community they would ordinarily not engage with? Did this project make them better future doctors? Why or why not?
Implications for CI 597 (20 min)
- How has your being a member of this community classroom changed your identity? Your imagination? If you haven't changed, have you really learned anything?
- Despite the fact that we are a community of learning, some students still feel disconnected from other students, from the class as a whole, and from the "multi-semester, ongoing conversation." Why is this?
- We have been divided into teams. How has this impacted our community as a whole? Has it been a good thing? Bad? In what ways?
- Let's talk a little bit about the first iteration of CI 597 and how we relate to it.
- Who will continue to participate after the course "ends"? Just the techies? Theorists? How will the end of the semester affect our community?
- How can we change our class to enhance learning (the creation of identity through engagement)?
Our team found a web site linked from Etienne Wenger's website and there are interesting representations for discussion. Our team picked up the above one demonstrating locations of different tools showing the relationships of participation vs. reification; synchronous vs. asynchronous; individual vs. group.
In terms of overall use of tools/technology to support community, it might be interesting to consider whether tools that fall on one or another end of the polarity continuum are better/worse than others? And whether tools that provide more of the items listed in the diagram are better? It's kind of the all-in-one vs. best of breed type thing we talked about with the LMS a couple weeks ago. i.e. Is it better to have one tool that does chat, blogging, profile, photo sharing, and wiki, or is it better to use a tool that's superb in one/two of those areas?
To the above questions, our team suggests that there's an interesting question there about how we, as individuals, move around in that graph in our efforts to participate, and negotiate and reify our identity and our place in a community. For instance, there are times where the kind of participation we need to engage in requires synchronous communication, such as when a quick decision needs to be made and acted on, and a record of that communication isn't necessarily important. Other times we want a slower, more deliberate communication that we can refer back to later. Sometimes we need to exert our own individuality, and sometimes we're content to be part of the group think. We navigate around these dimensions fluidly depending on our needs. So, in terms of what technology is "better", I would suggest that the key factor isn't whether it does everything at once vs. specializes, but rather, how easily it allows us to navigate from one mode of communication/participation to another. For example, RSS can be seen as a connector that facilitates jumping around between the various technologies on this graph, so we see the blog posts, the podcasts, the microblog (Twitter) entries, and we delve into the environment that at that moment allows us to leverage the information we need to get something done.
Another similar thought from the diagram is that technologies offer ways to participate in a community but also block other ways of participation (non-participation). It leads to different kinds of reification and then different meanings of negotiation. For example, Youtube (video) and blogs (text) offer different types of reification and when we negotiate through these two different technologies, we may produce different meanings of practice. In this diagram we can also see that within a community, meanings of practice are produced collectively. Individual participation and mutual engagement shape the meaning of practice and constitute a resource repertoire.
The technologies for communities website had some interesting ideas. One tool that was mentioned was the idea of Skype being used to help community leaders and communities in general. The technology itself is very useful because it can bring together people from all over the world. It allows users to collaborate internationally with their peers which will have a tremendous impact in education. The authors also talk about the communities that develop using Skype. Over time users build up list of contacts that can be separated into differtent groups based off of your interaction within that group. It is interesting to think about the ways in which these groups develop.
The use of Skype is not limited for making a call anymore; it can be used as a learning tool such as distance learning for esl learners and also as a way of constructing a community and way of participation in the community. An example here give by one of our team members. She took a course last year, which provided a regular synchronous chat with students of another university that had taken similar course with the one at Penn State. Students of both schools shared thoughts and ideas on a specific topics every week and had built a sense of community through the chat in spite of the geographical distance. When it comes to a matter of participation & non-participation, not all of the students actively participated in during the chat. Some of the students were observing the conversation and tried to make a full participation after watching and copying what others talked. In this respect, our team thinks Skype makes learners to say what they think and to think what they are going to say in a rather comfortable circumstance. One of the drawbacks could be a difficulty of turn-taking. If one is not good at typing, s/he would miss turns to convey their thoughts and ideas.
Another point that could be related to community is modes of belonging. Wenger discusses about identity formation in terms of modes of belonging. A sense of belonging relates to individual participation and institutional participation. The three modes of belongings are engagement, imagination, and alignment. That latter two are not confided to mutual engagement and indicates thinking of the broader structure as the institution or the world. The latter two seem to be more individual awareness and I doubt how the latter two also affect the community as a whole. As our team's focus this, technology to the community, I am wondering if these technologies could also be the vehicles for imaginations and alignment. Some examples could be grabbed, such as blogs could provides information for knowing people under similar situation and with similar background (imagination). Then, how about one technology that combine the three together? Do we have any example for this?
Our group decided to post individual thoughts and a synthesis this week.
One thing that was interesting to me in the reading for this week was the idea of participation/non-participation. Our group has talked about this before, but this quote really stood out to me this time: "The mix of participation and non-participation that shapes our identities has to do with communities in which we become invested, but it also has to do with our ability to shape the meanings that define these communities." (p. 188). It is again this cyclical relationship between community and identity. My community shapes my identity and my identity shapes my community. At this point I wonder if it is ever possible (or even desirable) to separate the two. Does a change in my identity necessitate a change in my community? Does a change in my community necessitate a change in my identity? Hmm...
The discussion of learning communities was also really interesting to me. Because he believes that learning entails both a process and a place, Wenger seems to be saying that it is a process of becoming (transforming our identities) within a community of practice, which he says is a "privileged locus for the acquisition of knowledge" (p. 214). I am struggling a bit with what Wenger means by "privileged" here. Is he saying that communities of practice are the best (or at least better) places for learning? If so, I wonder if this is true (that COPs are privileged) given the fact that it is possible for me to learn things on my own. Does my learning improve or change in some way because I do it within a community of practice? Can I learn just as well outside of one? Obviously the process would be different, but would it (learning outside of a COP) be any less effective? This makes me think about our discussion of open education and students who do online courses or independent study classes. Is the quality of their learning different than the quality of learning of students who do so in a "traditional" classroom setting?
Finally, on p. 217 Wenger says that "our communities must have a place for us that does justice to the transformations of identity that reflection and excursions can produce." When I think about this in terms of teaching, it reminds me that as teachers we need to help our students reflect on their learning so that they can better understand themselves. We also need to help them step outside of themselves and take different perspectives (this is how I interpret excursion) so that they can better understand others. We need to provide communities in which our students are safe to "try on" the new identities that come about as the result of the learning that is taking place. Wenger says that learning transforms who we are (which I think is totally true- I am certainly not the same person that I was when I started my PhD program in August) and we need to be mindful that our students are actually changing as a result of what they are taking in. We are not simply filling empty vessels with knowledge; we are impacting, in one way or another, who our students are (or at least how they perceive themselves to be).
On page 211 Wenger states "Working with the economy of meaning can be a way to preserve the community by sharing ownership of meaning. For instance, involving everyone in a decision complicates the process of arriving at that decision and may bring into the open all kinds of disagreements. Yet this sharing of ownership of meaning may well result in a deeper commitment to the community". This quote really stuck out to me because I wonder how common is this example in the real world. How many of us like making decisions, especially tough ones? What about decisions made by school boards? Should they include everyone in the district community including the general public to offer input into the decision or should they make the decision behind closed doors? Granted by bringing in the "public" (and by "public" I really want to say community members but I don't want to offer any confusion here) one would expect more disagreement as stated above, but it would also strengthen the school board's position in the whole community.
Then on page 212 Wenger explains why we form communities. "We form communities not because we fall short of an ideal of individualism or freedom, but because identification is at the very core of the social nature of our identities and so we define even our individualism and our freedom in that context. On the other hand, communities give rise to economies of meaning not because we are evil, self-interested, or short-sighted, but because negotiability - and thus contestability - is at the very core of the social nature of our meanings and so we construct even our shared values in that contest."
With these two quotes I then move into the learning community which I feel ties these quotes together with (page 219) "A learning community confronts structural issues of identification and negotiability both internally and externally. A learning community is therefore fundamentally involved in social reconfiguration: its own internally as well as its position within broader configurations" (page 220).
In this last section of the book, Wenger attends to the definition of participation, specifically dealing with non-participation. It is clear that the idea of difference has a large affect on how community involvement helps form identity: "We not only produce our identities through practices we engage in, but we also define ourselves through practices we do not engage in" (p. 164). Communities as a whole emphasize our abilities to construct identity through "relations of belonging or not belonging." It is within difference that communities and identities are constructed. The idea of difference here remind me of the works of constructionists like Foucalt and the idea that meaning is relational, that we understand a word or concept not for what it is, but for what it is not. According to Stuart Hall, "If you couldn't differentiate between Red and Green, you couldn't use one to mean 'Stop' and the other to mean 'Go'" (Hall, Representation). We can also connect the concept to Gee. For example, I know I'm not a gang member because I belong to a Discourse of ...
Another area of Wenger's argument reminiscent of Foucault is his idea of power. Wenger views matters of power "in terms of the negotiation of meaning and the formation of identities - that is, as a property of social communities" (p. 189). My interpretation of Foucalt is that he understood the same negotiation of meaning was inherent in social practices. Though meaning, for Foucalt, came from small d discourse, which deemphasized the role of the participants (to use Wenger's term) in actively constructing that meaning. Wenger, in contrast, asserted that power was a social concept created by a community.
The concept that there are types of communities beyond communities of practice seems like a concrete connection to our discussion of the bad driver comes into play (p. 181). Just because a large number of people like the same television show does not make that group a community of practice, according to Wenger. With this in mind, does the term "bad driver" refer to a community of practice? Probably not. Does it refer to a different type of community? Perhaps. As Wenger says, "Belonging to such a community can contribute to the identities of those involved, even if it does not involve the joint development of a shared practice" (p. 182).
Maybe I missed this in the reading, but one question that I have in particular is how do Engagement, Imagination, and Alignment concretely differ from participation? Wenger referred to them as "modes of belonging" (p. 172) - how do they go beyond just different ways of participating?
The modes of belonging -engagement, imagination, and alignment- are the important ingredients of understanding how communities are constituted. When focusing on the mechanism of community formation, the various combination of these three ingredients explains the variety of community types. The changing relations between these three elements over time analyzes the transformations of these communities (p. 183).
I found it interesting that the modes of belonging- engagement, imagination, and alignment- are also important elements of learning. The three factors that explain the construction of communities also apply to the dynamics of learning. A community of practice can be a learning community enlightening the fact that a community provides the place for "the acquisition of knowledge" and "the creation of knowledge" (p. 214). Wenger mentions combining the modes of belonging, saying that the three elements anchor learning "in practice yet make it broad, creative and effective in the wider world" (p. 217). Such combinations allow "a learning community to move in various ways between participation and non-participation in order to create a richer context for learning" (p. 217). I think that community provides an opportunity of becoming members within a community by giving context for developing new understanding, negotiating between new meanings and identity, and transforming identity accordingly. It seems to me that multimembership provides more learning sources.
Many of the ideas about community mentioned in our responses above can be related to the current hot topic of the 2010 US Census. Here is a video in which non-participation is being encouraged:
*Does the rationale behind why this guy doesn't want to participate in the census mean that he isn't part of a community of political citizens?
*What does it do to a community when some members encourage others into willing non-participation?
*To what level are dissidents still members of the original community? Does their extreme non-participation shift their membership in some way?
On the opposite side, here is a video that is encouraging participation from a particular segment of the population (Thai)
*We wonder what impact this ad (and others like it for other communities) actually has on the members of the community. Does it really make them decide to participate if they had previously decided not to? Does it sway someone who might previously have been ambivalent?
*If a person chooses non-participation in this situation is he/she viewed as somehow hurting the community because his/her participation would (might?) bring some benefit to the community?
There are several statements within the 95th theses that seem to complement Wenger's chapter on identity and are perhaps illustrative of the views of community from the authors we have read so far.
34. To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities.
This implies that there needs to be a level of common interests and regard for the people that create the community. In an education setting our focus needs to be on the students. We need to understand their perspective, their needs, their weaknesses, and how to navigate those concerns to enable and empower them to achieve greater things. We should put ourselves 'in their shoes' to understand their concerns. What do you want me to hear when I listen/observe/participate with you? How do you want this to inform me? Are you clear about your expectations of this communication? This is what I am hearing- was this your intention? What aren't you telling me? What do you want me to do with this information? By understanding how they view education in our classroom, we can better educate them.
38. Human communities are based on discourse--on human speech
about human concerns.
Human discourse is a powerful tool for the building of communities. It's the association and communication of thoughts ideas, practices, and beliefs that draw people together to form communities. Wegner speaks of organizations fostering learning by
sustaining communities of practice that make up the organization. Likewise,
cluetrain talks of the need for companies to resist the urge of organizing from
top down, but rather letting the community organize themselves and create their
95. We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.
Learning happens regardless of the structure we impose upon education. Wegner argues that learning happens as a result of participation in community, and that learning
is not something that is separate from the "real world" or only happens during special time set aside for education. Along these lines, the cluetrain manifesto talks about the power of the communities formed of network connected people. Cluetrain is arguing for the power of participation in communities.
We are constantly seeking out opportunities to engage in the kind of learning that makes us valuable to the communities we interact with. Engagement provides meaning through practice, practice informs perception, perceptions define experience and significance.
The glaring similarity and commonality between Gee, Wenger and the The Cluetrain Manifesto is the need to decentralize the creation of conversations that form community, identity, and design. All authors seem at first glance to argue for a need of a more egalitarian approach to not just learning and business but daily life. A closer look though may also lead one to conclude that they are not necessarily arguing for anarchy rather for more access to the creation process of the environment, a decolonization and a redefining of the roles. The question becomes whether or not such an egalitarian approach is possible? Can a the role of the teacher as an authority figure in the classroom ever really be eliminated? Can a community ever be a community if it does not have a leader? Lastly, can disruptive technologies fully be integrated into learning if their aim is to destroy the status quo and would they remain disruptive if integrated into learning?
We "spiced" up our thinking about community for this week. Click on the nodes to get to the next level(s) and see what we thought about Wenger and the 95 Theses. You can also drag the nodes around for easier viewing.
If you have trouble viewing it here, this URL also links to our map:
Wenger states that practice is a process that we engage and experience the world which includes the negotiation of meaning through participation and reification.
Online social networks are an interesting example of the interplay between participation and reification, and embody at their core the negotiation that happens between the two to produce meaning for their users. Clearly, there is a strong element of participation in social networks. In Facebook, participation can come in many forms: wall posts, tagging pictures of friends, playing multiplayer games. In fact, the process of "friending" someone, of negotiating that relationship and making a decision about whether or not it meets some threshold of meaningfulness to you such that you reify the relationship in a friend request or confirmation. This process of friending, or of building ones social graph, is indeed a perfect example of reification. It is the quintessential representation of participation in the social networking world. The social graph illustrates, in stark visual terms, all the relationships that constitute one's socially situated identity, of the community one chooses to identify with.
Profile on MySpace would be another example of a representation of identity including photos, background, music, description of background and so on. This is an example of reification that we can assume a person's identity from the profile page and it is often the source we start reading one's blog or sending out our friend request.
However, Wenger points out that a reification is often an imperfect codification of participation, and that is certainly the case with the social graph in Facebook and also with the profile page on MySpace. There might be a discrepancy between identities once you read more tweets and blog entries, start chatting, making comments and receiving responses back, and so on.
In case of social graph in Facebook, complex relationships which at some level might involve rich emotional interaction are reduced to lists and numbers. In some online environments, you can even rank order your friends, or pick "top friends". This short list is no doubt hotly negotiated, with its four or five lucky members changing at the moment by moment whim of its owner. Wenger also points out how meaning can become distorted if there is too much focus on either participation or reification. Again, the social graph illustrates an example of how reification, the process of representing one's participation in a community, can become so oversimplified that it exists almost independently of participation, or at least such that actual participation is an afterthought in the formation of the graph. This can be seen when members of a social networking site like Facebook compete for the largest number of "friends". The state of being popular, which once reflected at least some superficial qualities of one's personality, can be reduced to a hyper-focus on building one's social graph by obsessively clicking friend invites. Another example of this can be seen in the site "LinkdIn" which consist almost entirely of build one's professional graph and often seems devoid of any participation at all.
* Theses 6,12, 34,35,66
-The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
-There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.
-To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities. But first, they must belong to a community.
- As markets, as workers, both of us are sick to death of getting our information by remote control. Why do we need faceless annual reports and third-hand market research studies to introduce us to each other?
The Clutrain Maifesto focuses on the rising need for businesses to communicate with other businesses, communities, and individuals who invest in their products and services. The Internet has made this communication much more accessible. The smart businesses will find a way to utilize this communication tool to make their businesses better.
* Theses 34-40:
- To speak with a human voice, companies must share the concerns of their communities.
- But first, they must belong to a community.
- Companies must ask themselves where their corporate cultures end.
- If their cultures end before the community begins, they will have no market.
- Human communities are based on discourse--on human speech about human concerns.
- The community of discourse is the market.
- Companies that do not belong to a community of discourse will die.
Market is a place where people communicate, exchange and negotiate. Essentially, any company that denies that it is part of a community, or does not attempt to be part of a community will be unsuccessful. People value interaction and genuine discourse, so a successful company must both belong to a community, but actively participate in a way that the community acknowledges and values that company as a part of the community. What can we do to belong to a community, then? It goes without a question that our social activities and productions need meanings, negotiated ones because it represents our human engagement in the world (p.53). However, if we do not belong to a community, I refer this as to not participating, how we can negotiate meanings with people, artifacts, symbols, social norms, and etc in the community and probably, there's no social practice we can thus experience. No engagement, no meaning. Under this circumstance, a company cannot speak to its market and thus there is no market. It's applicable to the educational setting. If there is no community or we pre set up a classroom culture, students probably cannot participate and thus negotiate meanings to themselves.
As stated in the introduction to the 95 theses, "learning to speak in a human voice is not some trick, nor will corporations convince us they are human with lip service about "listening to customers." They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf. While many such people already work for companies today, most companies ignore their ability to deliver genuine knowledge, opting instead to crank out sterile happytalk that insults the intelligence of markets literally too smart to buy it."
- Command-and-control management styles both derive from and reinforce bureaucracy, power tripping and an overall culture of paranoia.
- Paranoia kills conversation. That's its point. But lack of open conversation kills companies.
These two are interesting to think about in that social networking and Web 2.0 have made these points even more evident. The flattening of organizations, and inter-connectedness of employees (whether facilitated by the organization, or due to employees' personal social networks external to the organization) means that people will interact and converse with each other. And if they are not provided information, and do not feel as though the company is conversing openly, it's human nature to use what's available to them to explain things. So, if a company doesn't provide information, they effectively tell employees and customers that there's something that the company is hiding... something that the company is not willing to discuss with "outsiders". This not only creates an "in" group and an "outsider" group, but it also leaves the "outsider" group with no other option than to invent their own information and explanations based on what is available. Lack of conversation breeds distrust, and people don't want to work for or do business with an entity that they don't trust.
It seems that the same thing could be said for a classroom. While the age of students in some cases requires command and authority, the teacher is also responsible for communicating genuinely with the learners. Students who feel that the teacher is hiding something or is telling them to do something based purely on power or authority will not trust the teacher, and by extension, will be uncomfortable in the learning environment.
In terms of "open conversation", participation is necessary to be included if a conversation is open. If access to participation is limited, it is hard to have negotiated meaning. As a teacher, I explained to my students about assignments and sometimes they came to me and asking why this is a "good" assignments. Of course, I explained my rationals and concerns. Convinced or not, I cared more on why they came to me to ask about the meaning of doing such assignments. What's lack of? I expected that after completing several lessons, they could see the meaning of doing those assignments. Apparently, it did not happen all the time. The idea of new conversation made me think about conversations between teachers and students. Can we have open conversations? In what ways?
* Theses 57-62
- Smart companies will get out of the way and help the inevitable to happen sooner.
- If willingness to get out of the way is taken as a measure of IQ, then very few companies have yet wised up.
- However subliminally at the moment, millions of people now online perceive companies as little more than quaint legal fictions that are actively preventing these conversations from intersecting.
- This is suicidal. Markets want to talk to companies.
- Sadly, the part of the company a networked market wants to talk to is usually hidden behind a smokescreen of hucksterism, of language that rings false--and often is.
- Markets do not want to talk to flacks and hucksters. They want to participate in the conversations going on behind the corporate firewall.
In these points, the company can be seen as the educational institution and the market as students collectively. The smokescreen is the ineffective instructional methods that many instructors implement, perhaps through lack of understanding of a better approach, or perhaps through anxiety about allowing their students to take the drivers seat in the classroom. Instructors want their students to learn, and students want to engage, but there's a wall that separates those to desires and prevents them from coming to fruition. Instructors need to "wise up" and re-situate themselves as classroom facilitators, and get away from the "sage on the stage" or dominant authority figure in the classroom. To tie this back to Wenger, meaningful experience in the classroom must come from a negotiation between the instructor and the student to establish a place where participation results in learning, and where learning is reified through instructional practice and the outcomes of student participation.
- Your product broke. Why? We'd like to ask the
guy who made it. Your corporate strategy makes no sense. We'd like to have a
chat with your CEO. What do you mean she's not in?
- Your product broke. Why? We'd like to ask the guy who made it. Your corporate strategy makes no sense. We'd like to have a chat with your CEO. What do you mean she's not in?
- We want you to take 50 million of us as seriously as you take one reporter from The Wall Street Journal.
These two echoes several other theses and some sentences in the Forward, speaking in a human voice and the metaphor of tearing down the Berlin Wall. Being a customer, we all hope to talk to "real people" instead of polite but distant statements. If companies continue to lock themselves behind corporation walls, we'll never have new conversation, a conversation with human voice. This fits to any communities that if we want to negotiate meanings we may have to hear human voice from each other.
This was Team 3's Synthesis Presentation for Block 1.
We have all been working together to understand disruptive technology, and how it relates to community, identity, and design. The video represents the diversity of ideas and questions generated by the class, and demonstrates visually the diversity of individual identities ("I am...") of contributors to this blog while synthesizing them together into a harmonious (or sometimes discordant) whole.
The word tree as generated using a web service called Many Eyes. Feel free to interact with word tree.
Some ideas explored in class:
- Does the design of disruptive technologies carry intelligence related to identity and community?
- What intelligence was transmitted via the design of the blog/word tree combination? How does experiencing the text in the tree format differ from experiencing it in blog form?
- The business of education is change. Teachers want to make a change in their students to varying levels. Teachers also need to prepare their students to continue to change, as the world will continue to change. As such, Teachers themselves need to be able to change as well.
A group of people with some relationship using artifacts (props?) to collaborate, participate, communicate; Working together toward a certain goal (academic, social, task, outcome); often based on common interest
Representation of oneself to others; includes social interaction and context;
not fixed - when in different communities or discourses, different identity is presented;
Possible that recognition as part of discourse attributes characteristics to an identity