Collaboration in networks

 Very interesting post in this 3 types of collaboration. I like your cluster of activities.

Collaboration could also be “within the institution governance” and “outside the institution governance – social networks & COP”.

Connective collaboration could be the most challenging one, as this requires certain degree of “1) a shared sense of mission 2) mutual respect 3) trust 4) a commitment to continual improvement.” for that type of collaboration to be sustainable. My response to your post here is an example of such collaboration with you and the wider community, when others join in with you, though it is at a very early stage.

The compounding collaboration is more related to the Master-Apprenticeship model, where On-the-job training has been practiced for decades, and could still be very effective if it relates to skills based training and learning. I have been involved in this sort of collaboration in the past decades.  It is still one of the most useful models of collaboration amongst team-based learning.

For advanced knowledge & skills that requires reflective learning, then the academic discourse and debates amongst scholars (peer reviews) in journal articles would be the highest forms of collaboration. I would suggest that this could be a combination of connective and compounding collaboration when it is outside the institution, and all three when it is done inside the institution.

Would there be a fourth form of collaboration? This is a networked collaboration with adaptive, agile and “just in time” sort of collaboration. The nature of collaboration changes in both scope and direction as the individual or collective vision changes. The actors morph along the social media platforms and could collaborate in different modes – from the centre in an ad hoc manner to the peripheral, then gradually return to the centre with a focus of collaboration, with a complex pattern, basing upon the needs and expectations of the actors.  This is adaptive emergent collaboration.

Systemic Transformation

What do we mean by systemic transformation?

Education starts with the learners, for the learners, by the learners.

That is the education that would prepare learners for the challenges, and is relevant to them.

It takes one year to grow crops, ten years to grow trees, but tens of years to grow people.

Let’s start with growing people, via networks, technology, media, and systems.  

Writing Pedagogy

In this new writing pedagogy,

Making Connections

In these online spaces, students and educators write not just to communicate but to connect. Whereas publishing was once the end point in the writing process, it is now a midpoint, the place where the interaction with readers and subsequent conversations begin through comments on or revisions and linking. Sharing one’s writing with a potential global audience is a means to creating networks of learners who share an interest or passion. Their interactions can continue for a lifetime. But while this sharing creates all sorts of opportunities for students, it also creates a new level of complexity that requires they become adept at navigating a more transparent life online and at managing a much more distributed conversation that is carried on asynchronously in many different places. Figuring out how to help students manage those shifts is, in large measure, where schools are struggling right now.

Collaboration and Risks

That collaborative aspect is another important shift to consider, as the Web continues to facilitate more and more opportunities for people to create together. Tools such as AppJet’s EtherPad, a Web-based word processor that allows people to work together in real time, Diigo, a research tool and knowledge-sharing community, and wikis provide spaces for students to roll up their writing sleeves and create together—an act that, again, adds another layer of complexity to the writing process but one that most see as an important skill moving forward. That has implications for every teacher.

The challenges for educators, teachers and learners however would be:

1. Are the learners ready to share their work with others, and display such work in their blogs or wikis opening to public?  What proportion of learners are willing to share such work?

2. Are the learners feeling safe, secure and confident when posting their work onto blogs and wikis?  How would these learners respond to critical comments and spams?  Are they looking for protected space in their blogs?  Are they “open” enough?  How about the privacy issues?

3. Are educators (teachers, coaches, learning technologists, librarians etc.) encouraging their learners to post their work onto their blogs or wikis and share them with the global audience?  Are these blogs or wikis part of the assessment?  Are learners offered choices of blogs and/or wikis?  Are FB, blogs, or wikis mandatory or voluntary tools in a course?

4. What level of support would be given to the learners when using blogs or wikis?

5. Are educators and teachers required to exercise a “duty of care” when their learners are learning through the internet?  What sort of care and precautions are necessary in an online “teaching environment”, especially if the learners are teenagers?

I have more questions than answers.

How would you encourage a culture of  collaborative writing online? Wikis? Blogs?

 What are the implications?

Future of Education

Dave Cormier and George Siemens are running a course on the Future of Education.  They are calling for responses.

Here is my collection of thoughts and a summary of reflections.

In this Education as an open system by Tim O’Reilly, the provision of a platform is the key to education as an open system. 

Web 2.0 or social media technology would then be based on media platforms as an open education infrastructure. 

So, instead of merely providing the content for the course (online course inclusive), and having professors or educators being a sage on the stage, would it be far better to create and develop platforms and encourage and support the educators and learners to co-construct, re-mix, re-purpose and re-use the resources and artifacts throughout education and learning?  This will ensure that education is more engaging, relevant and meaningful for all learners.  This is also about empowerment of learners in their learning process – to be part of the education and learning process, to direct their own learning with more personal autonomy, so they would become both consumers and contributors of knowledge and information within those open networks and platforms. 

The role of the institution would be platform providers, with the provision of educators and professors to facilitate or guide on the side along with the learners as they pursue their life long and life wide learning journey.  

Such mission would allow the educators and learners to collaborate in the design and re-design of the curriculum, the media platform, the tools, and the content.  This would involve the curate, search and design, re-mix of the content and creation of knowledge to further enrich the learning experience of both educators and learners.

Such value added flexible open education would also benefit not only the learners involved in the course, but the community of interested global educators and learners, and the governments.

So, what would be the future of education look like? 

1.  Courses could be massively open and based on open education principles like the MOOC (massively open online course) CCK08 and CCK09 led by George Siemens and Stephen Downes.

2. Courses would be designed based on the principles of Learner Centered Methodology, and are learner focussed.

3. Courses could be run based on open education networks like wikieducator.

4. Education would be based on a conglomeration of government networks and communities – The Government 2.0  initiative (increased interest by government worldwide in the potential uses of public sector information and online engagement).  This would promote openness, transparency in the policy and its development in society.

5. Education would be a mix or conglomerates of complex social and learning networks, including personal learning networks, with a combination of formal and informal learning throughout the life-long learning and life-wide learning journey.

Martin Weller in his Future of Education mentions that it would be about



-Special audience


-Building spaces

-Encouraging and supporting learners to be part of the networks

-Building networks, and contributing to the networks.

So, where would this lead us in our educational journey?  What should we do as educators?

David Wiley in his The Future of education summarises it:

-Engage in Policy Reform

-Be more open for our students

-Role of New Media/Technology

George Siemens post on Open isn’t so open anymore also highlights the importance of openness in education.

What would you like to add?  What do you see will be the future of education?

Would it all start with the learning ecology? The connections.