My first thought as I read and researched for this week’s blog post, was the Borg from Star Trek. Perhaps I have managed to date myself a bit, but I find myself thinking, “Resistance is futile”. Colin, a fellow blogger shared a clip during our twitter session.
According to Wikipedia, A “collective identity is the shared sense of belonging to a group. It is conceptualized as individuals’ identifications of, identifications with, or attachment to certain groups.”
Douglas Thomas and John Brown elaborate further by saying that the collective is the “collection of people, skills, and talent that produces a result greater than the sum of its parts,” (A New Culture of Learning, 2011). People are actively engaged in the process of learning; furthermore, the participants are people who belong in order to learn, (Thomas and Brown, 2011).
Khan Academy has a great clip on the idea of learning in a collective.
The video clip discusses how our closest relative, chimps, are able to communicate by showing. Chimps are able to convey movements observed in the present. In other words, chimps communicate but their communication is limited to the present. The chimps’ knowledge does not build and move forward. Humans have symbolic language and are therefore able to learn, and through experience, gain information that can be passed on to the next generation. Not only is information passed on to the next generation but humans are able to learn from the collective and build on that information. So, new information is being experienced when humans learn through the collective, (Khan Academy). The internet has given us the opportunity to participate in the collective in a whole new way.
Claudio Garaycochea explains one way the collective can be used on the internet to allow your knowledge base to grow in a specific area. Imagine what you could learn about web design or interior design if you had a web PACKAGE “with the best tools, having any of these within a moments reach?” (Garaycochea, 2011). Garaycochea poses the questions, “What would happen if experts from different industries were to create PACKAGES with the best tools, having any one of these within a moment’s reach?” He goes on to discuss a project called “CustominzeInternet” which seeks to do just that.
I like the idea of having PACKAGES available to learn from the experts, but I find the collective can be valuable just by working in a group with individuals who have different strengths. For instance, teachers working together to plan a unit. Some teachers are really good at incorporating new strategies, while other teachers have a great deal of experience with classroom management. We can learn SO much by listening to our colleagues!
Next week I am going to work with Colin and Chris on a Minecraft lesson for our own children. I am super excited to work with other people. My son is probably even more excited than I am; he continues to amaze me each time he plays Minecraft. What really baffles me is his interest in working with teachers. He loves when teachers are willing to work with him on Minecraft; he really loves when they will follow him and let him show them around. Imagine what we could learn if we viewed our students as part of “the collective”. One of my favorite parts of teaching is learning. I love the chance I have to constantly learn new things. Being a part of the collective certainly helps me achieve my goal of being a lifelong learner.
Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_identity
Garaycochea, Claudio. (2011). Improve the use of the Internet through collective intelligence. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/conversations/2115/improve_the_use_of_the_interne.html
Thomas, Douglas & Brown S., John. (2011). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change.