Our collective intelligence?

Unknown-6Another great evening of discussion.  Thanks to Stina & Melissa for guiding us through an understanding of collective intelligence and mass collaboration.  They presented a snap shot of chapter 4 of Net Smart, and offered us many more examples of social production on the web.  It was great to dial up our class twitter activity a notch as we continue to acclimate to the use of social media networks as a viable tool for both teaching and learning.

I am pleased that we started a conversation about your final project for the course.  I think there is much more road to cover in terms of discussing the possibilities and your overall interests.  It is interesting to think about designing a project with crowdsourcing and collaboration as a specific value/element.   That said, it is yours to determine (I really mean it).  This was a very brief, initial discussion.  I would like to devote some more dedicated time to reflecting/negotiating this work.

I am also intrigued by the inherent politics in such an undertaking (a project that embeds collective intelligence and crowdsourcing as a key design element).  Such an undertaking gets at the heart of the issues discussed last night about the ethics of crowdsourcing.  Who benefits from a collaborative effort? What are those benefits and are they different for different individuals?  If a project relies so much on the spirit of volunteerism, then how do we design a community that matters to people, that taps into their desire to create, play, to participate?  What motivates people to want to participate?  Does it always come down to money and power gaining more traction?  Can those age old human realities be subverted by a more inspired design for meaningful participation?

images-2I am grateful to Howard for spending some time with us.  He was quite articulate about the ethical ambivalence resulting from the tools at our reach in the age of new media innovation.  Yes, we have new ways to accomplish what we set our sights on, but at the heart of our pondering lies the timeless question of what it means to be human.  What are we using our new tools for? Yes, our tools have transformed.  But have we gotten any better at imagining a better world?  Social media has helped drive revolution, but the suffering of some at the expense of others remains a revolving reality when the dust of “change” has settled.  Revolution is like the wheel that turns, …the players change, but the realities of people’s struggle remain.  When and how can we realize real transformation for society?  Have we gotten any better at designing better futures for everyone?

In many ways, things have remained the same when it comes to an assessment of our collective humanity.  Dave & Matt blogged about these concerns (…perhaps out of -wisdom, -cynicism, -and/or frustration, –or other things that I cannot imagine, as I am not them….).  And others have expressed similar thoughts in class.  Laura, brought the question directly to Howard which was a great provocation in the brief time we had with him.  And he answered with a kind of grace that I appreciate.  His answer is that it depends on each one of us, that each of us, is at the heart of what is possible.  “Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

For next week:

Laura will guide us through a discussion on Web Literacy based on Mozilla’s Teaching How to Read, Write, and Participate on the Web – Web Literacy for Educators.  Please surf this website, clicking on their About page.  Explore the tools for growing a web literate community.  Please try a couple of their featured Activities.

To do:

1.  Blog about your understanding of Mozilla’s Web Literacy portal, and reflect on your own experience trying out a couple of their Activities. You can reflect on what you experienced and/or learned through your chosen activity.

2.  Think about the group project some more, do a bit of brainstorming about what you would like to do.  We will devote the second half of class to this issue next week.

Have a great holiday weekend, …with love,

Dr. Zamora





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