You’ve gotta respect the people who walk the walk and talk the talk. One of these groups is the New Media Consortium (at least at first blush). They have taken their Horizon 2008 report and dumped it into Comment Press to make it a living and interactive document.
They see collaboration technologies as one of the first on the horizon and Comment Press and Wikis are certainly a way to do that. Furthest out – many years away are social technologies. But I think that is reasonable. If we can get the main stream educator to start to think about how to collaborate online, eventually “group thinking” or the use of some collective intelligence ideas might follow – that should hopefully get kids up to speed with what many workplaces are doing already.
Via EdTech, I found an interesting way to look at the whole online safety thing – inline with what I wrote about protecting one’s self and image from being “remixed” for nefarious uses – focus on the what should be done and not what shouldn’t be done, starting with what you want people to find when they Google you, keeping in mind that the “collective intelligence” (Check this Jenkins post out) and “participatory culture” that is emerging through social networks (OLD) is where your true image will be made or lost. You want to balance what you do online with what others can “do with you”.
I wrote that Jenkins mentioned collective intelligence in one of his talks at the start of the month and today, I came across another mention of CI in my RSS. Kevin Kelly wrote about CI in one of his books (Out of Control chpt 2) and has written some more about it now – that the ‘net and it’s various means of connecting our individual brains. Interesting reading if you are into the idea of emergent properties.
Paul over at Research Quest has a great series of posts reflecting on the presentation by Jenkins at the Games, Learning, and Libraries Symposium pointed out a number of elements that are important for our students to keep abreast of the world the way that information is moving and changing with each new technology that comes along. I think the presentation was geared toward k-12, but as I’m working in post secondary, the one thing that keeps popping up in my mind is that we are ignoring the older kids as they will have to enter a nether region of these technology and literacy requirements as both new and old mix in the workplace that they are entering in a few years. Many of the skills that even Grade 12 students would be/should be picking up are learning strategies to deal with the changes that they will see as they move through their education and then later in life.
Putting the element’s of Paul’s posts together, these are the points (in my words) that I think apply to the post secondary realm:
Play: Playing is the art of searching and experimenting with various start and end points. This is what the work day is like for many of us, especially if we see our jobs as play. If we can make any task that is unstructured or loosely structured seem like play, half the battle that instructors face with trying to encourage any weakly motivated student will be on it’s way to being “won”. To get anywhere with this institutions need to make sure that we allow for risk taking and more time for trying different options.
Simulation: Playing in a “sandbox” where there are rules and some more structure to organize exploration. This is something that can be done in some fields easier than others, but making tasks and learning experiences authentic will go a long way to helping this become more prominent in the educational work flow.
Appropriation/Transmedia Navigation:Students need to be able to get content from almost anywhere and get it to a format that they can use. At the very least this means being able to find usable images online (copyleft or get rights) to being able to perform (or at least know that it can be done) some “black” tasks for the “greater good”. Instructors also need a good amount of education on this as well it seems.
Multitasking: Students seem to be pretty good at this already (stereotypically), but being able to define what is signal and what is noise is key to multitasking, this is perhaps something that we need to work with the instructors on.
Collective Intelligence: There is no single oracle that is an expert (even Google is not all knowing… just all finding…) and the fact that everyone on a team will “geek” on something different means that on average the group is more “intelligent” than the whole. For instructors, this means understanding how to develop group activities to explore larger problems than a single student would be able to do.