Teague's Tech Treks

Learning Technology and other Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague

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Participating in an online community~Week 6 Post 2

Disclaimer: This post is part of course requirements following this assignment: Extend your identity in the direction of your career path and participate in a new online community. Interact online using your projected identity for at least six weeks. Think deeply about identity and learning and blog twice a week about your experience. Take time to analyze the meaning, power, and constraints of the community on your learning. ~~~~

Week 6, Post 2

My online group chose The Long Earth as its December book choice. Its authors are Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter and it received the Goodreads’ Choice Award in the category Science Fiction in 2012. I found out about the book choice from the weekly emails and discussion forums composed by our Science Fiction and Fantasy Book group’s moderator. Included in the picture below is a sample of our discussion forum, the moderator’s post to seed the discussion, and my response. Within a few minutes of my post, other posts also appeared.

science fiction groups' post

Science fiction book group’s posting with personalized data redacted.

I began this assignment on September 2, 2013. Although uncertain as to the actual path my future work life will take, I knew that it would involve new ideas and that I would somehow help people integrate the change which accompanies new things. On Sunday, August 25, 2013, I made a big change and joined the Science Fiction Writer’s Group. I was warmly received, invited to participate, encouraged in my posts, given book recommendations and even a few plot spoilers. Along the path of this assignments, applications from authors McLuhan, Adams, Carr, Jenkins, Shirkey, and Dijick stood out like freshly dressed soldiers ready for inspection. (a complete list of authors is included below.)

Change is scary. Just watch how the performer Bjork describes her encounter with television:

Bjork explaining TV

 

Change is scary for me too. I discovered that since change is scary for many of us, these gently encouragements served as a cushion to my new experience. Also, the quick replies to my questions and posts from the moderators and group members helped me to move from outsider to peripheral to occasional and almost to active status, as Etienne Wenger predicted in Communities of Practice.

CofPLevelsofParticipation

And it all began with Etienne Wenger. Hearing him speak along with his wife was a highlight of this semester. Communities can be achieved in face-to-face settings and online protocols as long as the people within each of them continue to participate.

Thank you for reading these posts! And thank you, Dr. Paul Sparks for these invitations to explore and change!

~~~

Comprehensive Source List:

Adams, D. (1995). The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Del Rey. Link

Carr, N. (2008). Is google making us stupid? The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/

Couros, George. The Principal of Change Blog. Retrieved September 15, 2013 Link

Dijck, José van (2013). The culture of connectivity: a critical history of social media. Oxford University Press. Link

Gerstandt, Joe. (2012). Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com. Link

Gray, D. E. (2009). Doing research in the real world (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Link keywords=Doing+research+in+the+real+world

Jenkins, Henry (2008-09-01). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (Kindle Locations 3040-3041). NYU Press. Kindle Edition. Link

McLuhan, Marshall (1967). The Medium is the Message. Gingko Press Inc. Link

Pratchett, T and Baxter, S. (2012). The Long Earth. Harper Collins. Link

Shirkey, Clay. (2010). Cognitive Surplus How Technology Makes Consumers Into Collaborators. Penguin Books. Link

Shirkey, Clay (2010). How cognitive surplus will change the world | Video on TED.com. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/clay_shirky_how_cognitive_surplus_will_change_the_world.html

Simmons, A. (2013). Facebook has transformed my students’ writing—for the better. The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/11/facebook-has-transformed-my-students-writing-for-the-better/281563/

Sullivan, D. (2013, September 26). [Lurkers And Superfans: Why You Need Both In Your Facebook Communities]. Retrieved from http://allfacebook.com/crowdly-dan-sullivan-superfans-lurkers_b125468

Turkle, Sherry (2012). Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition. Link

Wasko, Molly McLure and Faraj, Samur (2000).  It is what one does: why people participate and help others in electronic communities of practice. The Journal of Strategic Information SystemsVolume 9, Issues 2–3, September 2000, Pages 155–173.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice, learning, meaning, and identity. (1st ed. ed.). Cambridge University Press. Link

 

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Participating in an online community~Week 5 Post 2

Disclaimer: This post is part of course requirements following this assignment: Extend your identity in the direction of your career path and participate in a new online community. Interact online using your projected identity for at least six weeks. Think deeply about identity and learning and blog twice a week about your experience. Take time to analyze the meaning, power, and constraints of the community on your learning.
~~~~

Week 5, Post 2

The 4 C’s of Community Combinability

The principle of combinabilty and shared knowledge enhance online communities, especially the community to which I belong, The Science Fiction and Fantasy group on Goodreads. The word combinability is so novel that it still sparks the SpellCheck red underline. But it is also featured in Clay Shirkey’s Cognitive Surplus and his description of Dominique Foray’s research.

Foray's Combinability

Our book community meets entirely online. We have a clarity of shared purpose, hobby, and goal to read science fiction and fantasy books. This is an essential component of our culture. The cost is free, predicated only by the cost of the books we purchased for our Kindles or bookshelves. The facility of communication and convergence of the Science Fiction and Fantasy group is aided by the catalyst effect of the increased comfort to which people in online communities have grown accustomed. Our culture has been altered, whether positively or negatively depends on each individual’s experience.

Clay Shirkey writes in his book Cognitive Surplus that the first social networking website was not Facebook or Friendster but a site called Six Degrees. According to Shirkey, Six Degrees “failed because in 1996 not enough people were comfortable living their social lives online” (193). At the same time, the emotional distance fostered by Facebook and other sites can encourage a healthier candor, too. Seventeen years later, not only do we feel comfortable sharing online, many of us feeling comfortable oversharing!

Nicholas Carr warns of the “Web’s info-thickets” of information that requires us to scan and skim and skip lightly across miles of hyperlinks. Across those thickets, not all is inclusive and accommodating to Foray’s combinability theory.

Teacher, Andrew Simmons writes about the changes he has seen in his students’ writing, “It’s a really bad neighborhood. On Facebook and Twitter, students humiliate, jeer, and shame one another. They engage in antisocial, even criminal behavior—leaving belligerently racist comments on links, harassing classmates with derogatory posts.”

Things are far more civil in my online book community, but within our online culture, there are cultural differences corresponding to our different countries. Several folks in my online communities are taciturn in their responses which they attribute to their disinclination to share everything. Some of us are over-eager to traverse participation circles as described by Etienne Wenger and share with a fluency of what I’ve labeled the 3 R’s of Combinability: responses, recommendations, reports. Protected by my identity and closed profile, I enjoy a bookish version of anonymity.

  • Johan* notes that his posts are abbreviated because he has a limited amount of time online because he is late to the library where he must connect.
  • Trianna* writes that she does not have access to Kindle books since they have not been translated into her native language.
  • John* explains that he was especially sensitive to spoilers during the Harry Potter book roll-out because the sequels came out later than in the Potter’s U.K.’s home country.

Whether it is Wenger’s invitation to Communities of Practice, Foray’s Combinability Theory, or Shirkey’s fulcrum toward our cognitive convergence, the Internet is the catalyst that Carr describes:

“For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.”

~~~

*=name aliases

Article Sources:

Carr, N. (2008). Is google making us stupid?. The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/

Simmons, A. (2013). Facebook has transformed my students’ writing—for the better. The Atlantic, Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/11/facebook-has-transformed-my-students-writing-for-the-better/281563/

Book Sources:

Shirkey, Clay. (2010). Cognitive Surplus How Technology Makes Consumers Into Collaborators. Penguin Books.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice, learning, meaning, and identity. (1st ed. ed.). Cambridge University Press.

I created the Foray mindmap at Bubbl.us

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