Rheingold’s concept of “centrality” and collaborative societies

As I watched the interview titled “Network Awareness” with Howard Rheingold in the introduction of Module 3, I began to eagerly anticipate what  is going to be included in the chapters of the module.

In my workplace, a group of forward thinking teachers are trying to get our learning community to use social media more and benefit from the joys of collaboration. A lot of concepts that Rheingold speaks about  have so much potential for our digital culture.

Rheingold commented that the future of digital culture depends on how we use it. I want my learning community to use the digital environment in a more authentic, innovative, creative and collaborative manner.

To help this happen I think that as the teacher-librarian and a member of the extended leadership team, I need to put my self out there as a point of “centrality” by sharing ideas that I gather from my  developing PLN and social media contacts.So to help facilitate this I need to connect well with different social networks, introduce different networks to others and help form bridges between networks.

Great to have goals!!


2 thoughts on “Rheingold’s concept of “centrality” and collaborative societies

  1. Online Reflective Journal Blog Task 3
    I too MONIQUEMCQUEEN am in a workplace that is focusing on 21st Century teaching and learning. Management have instigated Professional Learning Networks (PLN) this year for teaching staff. Teachers’ initially chose their PLN group and we have whole school PLN meetings a couple of times a term.

    Even though we’re in the infant stages of our 21st Century focus on teaching and learning, as a school we ‘plan to target the skills of collaboration and creativity through online tools’. Whilst there are other factors pertinent to ‘our targeting’; likewise to this M.Ed study, they fall for now outside the scope of this post. Whole school introductions in the use of Twitter, Edmodo and Facebook as online tools for Resource Management and collaboration have begun; not necessarily by the ‘best credentialed’ provider, but begun none-the-less. Alternatively, we will be visiting our chosen buddy teachers’ classroom for teaching collaboration and professional feedback, in the hope of creating openness amongst the staff. I believe our Staff Development day on the 28th April is about collaborating professionally within our PLNs through visitations to a community organisation (unknown at this point) in order to collegially solve an organisational problem.

    Individually, I have progressed this year to a more consistent approach to my ‘Virtual Learning Community’. It was interesting to read that it was Harold Rheingold who penned the term ‘Virtual Community’, with the roots of the term coming from “a continuum of human communication” – bringing to mind the thoughts of ‘since the beginning of time’. The implication of humans needing to communicate fits with the experience that my students have enjoyed ‘Blogging’.

    I find all students enjoy a our ‘Virtual BlogEd Class’ as our point of learning centrality. I’ve found this point of centralised access to learning suitable for all learning styles. Collaborative achievers such as a Year 9 Computing group (full names withheld) demonstrate creative online publishing. The interesting part of this group assessment task was the full collaboration of colour coding and design of the page; i.e. I did not guide these aspects of the task. Individual achievement from a Year 8 girl (SammyAntha, virtual name utilised) demonstrates creativity and publishing.

    I too see my role of teacher as one of ‘centrality’. To put myself amongst my students and colleagues. Whilst I am learning the utilisation of Web 2.0 tools in my classes, I can share my learning across my professional networks. In return, I can expect collaboration and discussion on alternative curriculum and / or technological alternatives.

    For certain, a long time process in a time poor profession, but Howard Rheingold’s’ “Virtual Community” is sure to live on!

  2. “authentic, creative, collaborative” – I think you are starting to tick those goals quite nicely! Certainly important for a teacher librarian or technology leader to grasp the possibilities, and even present a coordinated and consistent approach to inspiring confidence in innovation in a school. Part of this is knowing the tools, knowing when to write policy or proposals, and knowing how to be an information resource yourself for the main leadership group. Become indispensable, and love what you do at the same time!

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