As Rheingold discusses in Chapter 4 about collaboration, the internet and technology has made human collaboration exponentially more accessible, useful, and relevant in our lives. Although humans have always been social creatures, the speed at which we can collaborate today has brought that social interaction to new heights. People can collaborate with others at the touch of a button, and they can choose to access others with whom they are different or similar, older or younger, more informed or less. We collaborate nearly every time we use the internet, which for most of us is daily, whether it is through sharing information or accessing information another has shared over the web. As Rheingold says in his section on Wikipedia, by sharing information and fact-checking collectively, can learn information and share it with others much faster and more effectively than any individual could on his or her own.

I found this chapter very relevant to our recent class activities, specifically the crap detection project and the affinity spaces. Through the crap detection project, aside from collaborating with our partners, we used the internet to triangulate several sources and verify the legitimacy of information. Not only was the original information acquired through collaborative sites, but so was the legitimizing of that information. In an affinity space, the entire idea is centered around collaboration. It is a common space for people to come together about one activity or idea and increase each others knowledge and enjoyment of their shared interest. While these have always existed in the form of clubs and other meeting places, the introduction of technology has increased the collaboration, making the space more available to interested parties all around the world. These spaces use collaboration by experts sharing knowledge about the subject with members who are less experienced with it, and they also can create and share new aspects of the subject, for example member-created levels on computer games which can be shared with and played by any users of the game.

Collaboration has always been a useful tool in the classroom, but now with the advances we have in technology, that collaboration can expand beyond just the students in the class. As a teacher, I can use collaborative activities through the internet and with other classes and people around the world, with a more complex system such as ds106 or even something as simple as using Google Docs to share information and projects with students in other classes or schools.


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