More on Collaboration and New Media

Howard Rheingold's multiversed drive(s) to promote collaboration and learning by doing... once again, paving the way for us to explore and expand the "social knowing" scenario with new tools.

via Howard Rheingold vblog Watch "Vernacular Video in Culture and Education" on blip.tv

"Vernacular is a fancy word for informal. When local languages like Italian and French broke away from Latin, which remained a formal liturgical language, they were called vernaculars. In regard to video, vernacular refers to the emergence of millions of video producers and an informal, even conversational genre of video production."

Howard announces possible changes in education with collaborative learning and "augmented" info-communication systems becoming "every day speech". In his book: Tools for Thought, he announced how "computers amplified thought and communication" to enable new ways of organizing our work and social activities.

In another scenario amongst Asturian multi-versed environments, our higher education discourse remains fixated and embedded in printing mode and linear thinking, as the one and only way to go. Don't get me wrong: I'm having the time of my life here.

At UNIOVI we are living exciting times with a strong proposal for "change" by the current administration, massively voted last year by students, academics and university personnel. Walking the talk is much harder to attain, and therein lies the challenge.

Indeed, when users don't take themselves to be "users", and their thinking remains framed within maps of reified knowledge, as was the case with liturgy and the era of the scribes, when there is only one way to express new ideas, it ensures that any newcomer keeps doing "more of the same". Without negating the positive aspects of such a practice, the tradeoff is: it allows academia to remain "shielded" within an authoritative comfort zone, that will most likely bar any new ideas from emerging. In such learning mode all the power lies in the formulation and the enunciate, there is little room for evolutionary conversation to take place. We might keep adding years to the annual celebration banners of a 400+ year old school in Asturias, but don't expect much collaboration and change, meaning: creative innovation to emerge. (...emerge it will, but it will thrive, network and move out ASAP, as has been the constant with several generations of students).

As friend Martin used to quote: "para comer tortilla ... hay que romper los huevos". And this also goes for the students battling to keep the academic feud in place. (Yes, you read that all right). Salvador Minuchin dixit: "beware of those who want to protect... little negotiation and learning and lots of dis-enabling and evasion might be taking place".

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