Sunday, December 31, 2006

Collective Intelligence

I really love this term, "collective intelligence" that keeps coming up over and over in Don Tapscott's Wikinomics. The knowledge that comes from groups of people communicating and collaborating together can be really powerful as illustrated in this book.

Many years ago - really before we had much technology in my school district - I attended a conference at which one of the presenters said something like, "Our kids live in an interactive world for the first five years of their lives before coming to school. And then, when they come to school, they come to a place that is everything but interactive." That had to be about 8 years ago and it's still true today in some cases. One of our goals must be to make our classrooms places that are more interactive - not just within our own four walls but within the world outside our classrooms. We know that learning is a social process, we know that the brain actively seeks connections between new information and existing knowledge. Our own professional practices can reflect this. As 2007 begins I'm looking forward to seeing how this happens in my own school district in a number of ways: a teacher who is going to begin creating podcasts with his class, a teacher who wants to start a classroom blog to give students opportunities for writing to a wider audience, modeling the use of collaborative tools such as PageFlakes,, a wiki and other tools to help teachers understand how those tools help to develop their "collective knowledge" and improve their own professional practice. The possibilities are exciting!

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