Monday, April 02, 2007

Shall we call it Collaboration 2.0?

I do not mean to trivialise this concept, development and trend for putting 2.0 on the end of key terms however I am responding to Miguel's recent post about Mission Improbable and his discussion of how and where students are collaborating. I really think we could call this Collaboration 2.0 and link it in with the other 2.0 trends such as Web 2.0, Classroom 2.0, School 2.0 and so on. The validity arises from the need to start or continue to think about collaboration in a new way. It is not totally teacher controlled or classroom specific. Students/young people are doing this (collaborating) via their own social networks already. Teachers and administrators are starting to use new tools to collaborate in increasingly new and meaningful ways. We need to be able to tap into this and develop relevancy for what a 'school' or 'organisation' provides.

Doing some research into the term
Collaboration 2.0 unveiled some interested thoughts. This blog post and this one are to do with libraries, information and Collaboration 2.0 where the emphasis is on using collaborative online tools to share and find information. This post from Collaborative Loop by Jennifer Pahlka discusses the concept from an enterprise viewpoint and states:
"Collaboration 2.0 doesn't just mean collaboration with a Web 2.0 veneer to it. Interest in collaboration is rising at the moment because of globalization, the opportunity to take advantage of converged networks, the increasingly connected nature of work, and a wide variety of other factors, but one important thing that's enabling this is a new understanding of how people really work together. Decentralization and user empowerment are part of the picture, but security, regulatory compliance and corporate cultures are critical pieces of the puzzle in an enterprise setting, and Collaboration 2.0 encompasses all of these."

So how do we define 'collaboration'? Another Google search brought up these links:
  • A mutually beneficial well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve common goals. Collaboration is the process of various individuals, groups, or systems working together but at a significantly higher degree than through coordination or cooperation. Collaboration typically involves joint planning, shared resources, and joint resource management. ..
  • something done with cooperation
  • A social skill involving working together with two or more persons.
  • Collaboration, literally, consists of working together with one or more others.
  • Literally: "to labor together" A process in which two or more entities work together to achieve their independent and collective interests through a joint problem solving process. ...
OK, what about 'Cooperation'?
  • Co-operation refers to the practice of people or greater entities working in common with commonly agreed-upon goals and possibly methods, instead of working separately in competition.
  • In an ideal team organization, there is always cooperation. People have a common set of goals and they share the spirit. A special personal effort is made to go the extra mile. Lack of cooperation can destroy a team.
If we define collaboration as a 'higher order' form of cooperation then we can move forward into Miguel's challenge of providing examples of collaboration within a curriculum framework.

Before that however, let me revisit the ISTE NETS refresh development where the proposed NETS.S II currently reads:

II. Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:

  1. collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and others employing a variety of digital media and formats.
  2. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences utilizing a variety of media and formats.
  3. develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
  4. contribute to project teams to produce original works.
Miguel states:
"I suppose that a developmentally appropriate curriculum is what grade level do you start kids collaborating in school? At what grade level do you recognize student collaborations are occurring at home in the real world?

If they are collaborating, what are some examples of that collaboration? Social networking isn't collaboration is it?

  • Collaboration occurs as children/teens work to solve the puzzle or are engaged in achieving a mission objective in an online game. As they play the game, they also use instant messaging, audio-chat to coordinate their efforts for maximum effect.
  • Collaboration occurs as...[what others can you think of?]"
I would add to Miguel's list:
  • Collaboration occurs as classrooms and/or learners in geographically different (and possible diverse) locations team up for a mutual goal
  • Collaboration occurs when collaborators actively interact, discuss, synthesise and then construct new knowledge (in the form of original work)
  • Collaboration occurs as students and teachers share the decision making process
  • Collaboration occurs as meaningful friendships are made that become relevant in the context of learning
Going back to my starting paragraph, Collaboration 2.0 in an educational context means using appropriate communication tools, taking a global perspective and being humble in approach with the realisation that everyone can be a learner and a teacher. Collaboration 2.0 has to be included in curriculum reform (NETS is heading the right direction) and in any School 2.0, Learning 2.0 etc discussions. Yes, I think social networking is collaboration. However, I tend to side with Vicki Davis that in an educational sense we could label it differently:

Vicki states:
"I really am beginning to believe we should get rid of the term "social" networking because instead we should use the term:
  • Professional networking - When we are networking to learn more and improve our professional careers.
  • Student networking - When we are a student and are networking to learn more."
This video, created by Tom Woodward (based on Karl Fisch's 'flat world' thinking), called Education Today and Tomorrow using the terms 'collaboration' and 'multimedia' sequentially and challenges us to think about the skills we are 'teaching' and whether we are preparing students for the 21st century. If nothing else, more food for thought as we try to make sense of the NEW opportunities we have.

What do readers of this blog think about collaboration and curriculum relevance and reform in a Web 2.0 world??

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Miguel Guhlin (@mGuhlin) said...

Julie, great post! I thoroughly enjoyed I'll have to meditate and reflect on it.

With appreciation,
Miguel Guhlin
Around the

CB said...

Nice post, Julie.

I would change "professional" and "student" networking, though, to simply "learner networking."

If you're a doctor, that makes me a patient; if you're a teacher, that makes me a student. ;-)

Andrew Pass said...

Julie, very interesting post. I think I might use "professional" networking even with students. The term sounds cool. Second, what is the profession of a student...being a student and a learner. I think it might be appropriate to ask students about collaboration and relevance even if we use the words "team work" and "important." Relevance is not the same as important but does anybody have a better word?

I've asked some questions about this on my blog:

Andrew Pass

Anonymous said...

...curriculum relevance and reform in a Web 2.0 world??

Curriculum reform happens at such a glacial pace, you'll never be able to put that phrase and Web 2.0 in the same sentence!

I'm not sure it matters all that much though. Regardless of the curriculum, it's the delivery that needs to be reformed and made more relevant, and guess who has control over that...the teacher. Take any curriculum outcome, say a dry physics concept, (my apologies to any physicists reading this comment), such as the relationship among displacements, time, and velocity. Let's stop asking students to apply formulas to solve textbook problems. Let's use Web 2.0 tools to connect students with scientists and engineers who are applying the same physics concept to the task of moving payloads in space to construct the International Space Station. Relevant? Yes. Cooperation and collaboration? Yes. Do-able? Yes.