Tuesday, March 3, 2009

921-Session 7-Collective Intelligence

You may have noticed that I have added a cool feature to the blog. You can now double click on any word on the blog and you will be prompted with more details. The possibilities for a tool like this are astronomical when using edublogs in the classroom. Any word used by the 'blog author' or 'comment poster' can be defined w/o a student leaving the page. Give it a try.

Now, regarding future assignments---Please don't wait until the last minute to contact me if you have any questions, and as with all of these projects, "Practicality Shall Take Precedent over All." That means that if you have an idea to modify a Deliverable or Final Project so that it will be more useful to you in your setting then please feel free to pass your ideas by me. (I approve most of them.)


There is a renewed movement underway from schools, businesses, and universities. They are giving 'Collective Intelligence' a closer look. From MIT's new 'Center for Collective Intelligence,' to businesses using wikis within their internal networks, to schools using Collective Intelligence resources and tools in the K-12 setting---we will look at all of these examples, as well as discuss their long term implications during this session.

Keep in mind while you are viewing this session that your Deliverable 3 will be due, and posted, under the comment section of Session 12, as well as posted to the wiki. Additionally, keep in mind that the deadline for your Final Project is fast approaching.

As always, feel free to contact me if you ever have additional questions or comments.


P.S. Summer '08 participants' comments as well as participants' comments from previous semesters here.

P.P.S.  Backup copies of each week's session can be found on Authorstream.com


Charlotte Lesser said...

Just had to let you all know!! My husband is an elementary school principal and a member of ASCD, and therefore gets their publication Educational Leadership. Yesterday he says to me, "there are articles in the last two issues about that "stuff" you are studying... blogs & wikis". !! go figure.. so I look at the magazines, and sure enough in Feb. 09, there's an article about Blogs & Wikis and the entire March 09 issue is called Literacy 2.0. It has articles on definitions of literacy, media literacy, wikipedia, the joys of blogging, etc! You can read a couple of the articles online, but otherwise you'll just have to borrow it from your principal! ;-)

Amy Kalif said...

Thanks Charlotte, I just checked out your link-briefly. I'll get back to it later.

I must begin with a laugh regarding the wiki prayer: "Please grant me the serentity to accept the pages I cannot edit, the courage to edit the pages I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

I feel very excited and overwhelmed by the possibilities right now. The MIT Center for Collective Intelligence reminds me of the Dharma Initiative on Lost. They are actually collaborating on predicting the future!

I was happy to read the PDF of Terry Freedman's presentation as I was losing patience with the podcast sound effects. I particularly enjoyed how he mentioned "be prepared for yes." Perhaps I assume my proposal will be denied, or challenged. I have to plan the next step if it is immediately accepted. It was also great advice to tailor the proposal to "deliver what the supervisor wants." In our case, it will the PBGRs.

In Brian Lamb's Wide Open Spaces, I liked the metaphor used to describe Soft Security. He described it like leaving your front door wide open...but all of your neighbors are drinking cocktails in your front yard. (I added the cocktails).

Charlotte Lesser said...

Wahoo!! quoting from one of my favorite blogs: Joyce Valenza's NeverEndingSearch "A report just released by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) acknowledges that our schools must adapt to new and emerging modes of writing--email, blogs, wikis, chat, social networking tools. It delivers a Call to Support 21st Century Writing. This a call to action, a call to research and articulate new composition, a call to help our students compose often, compose well, and through these composings, become the citizen writers of our country, the writers of our world, the writers of our future.

The nine-page PDF document, by Kathleen Blake Yancy of Florida State, recognizes the impact of new models of writing and presents them in revealing historical perspective.

Yancy suggests that students who use Web 2.0 tools get the power of networking, their ability to contribute, their ability to reach audience. Educators must take responsibility for imagining new ways to channel students' energy for writing for more serious and more worthy purposes."

If that's not justification to get teachers to start using blogs, I don't know what is!

Abbe said...

Collective Intelligence will change the way we do everything as educators. I love the idea of sharing information and knowledge with others. I think that teachers have worked in very isolated situations in their classrooms and this technology and movement eliminate that feeling and connect people throughout a school, a state, a country or around the world. There is a quiet revolution happening at my school right now. Teachers are meeting throughout the day to compare notes on what they’re learning through wikis, ePals, video storytelling, and sites they’re finding. It’s become a higher energy place for some of us at least, with the excitement of figuring out new things and making new connections. I learn something new everyday. The Eduwiki page is fantastic. I looked up what diigo was, because many of the pages listed this as a future diigo group. It looks really cool- a way to take notes and highlight on the webpage and then share your pages. I would like to investigate that further. I am having trouble focusing on just a few reasons why our administration and tech staff should unblock blogs. There are a ton of reasons. Our students blog all day by unblocking the sites through proxy servers. I’m not going to use that as one of my reasons that we should have blogs at school, however, I agree with Terry Friedman’s comments that students need to be taught to be safe online. Tying it to standards and class expectations will also help in supporting the technology. I have been culling all of our information to find appropriate examples of blog use by schools. The Overcoming Obstacles article was really helpful because it made me feel better that the issues of blocking technology are happening at other places as well. One of our teachers is using a wiki with her students that I helped her set up. She received permission from parents and has anonymous usernames for students. She was shocked by how much students wrote and how insightful they were. She generally doesn’t have much participation from students in class. On the blog, all of the students wrote lengthy responses. She was also able to see which students truly didn’t understand the material by their responses. It’s open to parents to see and so far, so good! I’m sold! I think a lot of unevolved tech people would be frightened of all this sharing, because so much in technology (in the recent past) was based on being secretive about their knowledge, and not teaching anyone. I also read that “Call to Support 21st Century Writing”- I think it changes the way we teach and engage students. Current educators need a lot of professional development. I see that it only takes a couple excited people to get something started. I wonder how to involve students more in getting teachers caught up with this technology.

Maura McGill said...

eAfter reading and viewing this week's session on Collective Intelligence, I have more respect for the many uses of Wikis. I think the saying, four men working together can get more accomplished then six men working separately, says it all about the benefits of having people collaborate using Wikis. I now have a clearer understanding of how the Wikipedia site functions and value its uses. Also, the sharing at no cost goes along way these days!

The Curriki site had some interesting information. It benefits both teachers and students with its resources.[teaching ideas and lessons] I wonder if there will be the need for textbooks in the future?

Mark Wagner's video was very informative.[entertaining!] I was glad he mentioned the birds because I could not figure out what that noise was! squeaky sneakers?
I wish I taught middle/high school because there were so many creative ideas for reaching that audience. Having an authentic audience, collaborating with one another,and editing each other's work are such motivating tools for children in a learning situation. I loved the idea for the summer reading program for the book, Moby Dick. It went beyond reading and writing, but had the students create a Reader's Theater which was a product. It reaches that higher level of thinking in students, yet it was interesting and entertaining for them, too. Having students create and share information with diverse projects as this one meets the multiple learning styles of students which is something we are always trying to do as educators. I liked how students could no longer be passive participants, but they became partners with the teacher in learning. Great Stuff!

I REALLY appreciated the clear explanation for setting up a Wiki that Mark Wagner gave in his video. I was still uncertain how to go about this process so this will be a resource that I will save and reuse when I have questions.
Finally, I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for using Wikis. What a powerful tool! As a teacher it is so important to teach your students to respect and be responsible with these tools. We have the responsibility of educating our students in the classroom so we have this same responsiblity of educating them about the computers.

vivrelelivre said...

The Overcoming Obstacles article (I also read the PDF) was very informative. I'm so determined that we are going to have a wiki that I tend to bulldoze a bit. I need to remember to step back and get a better perspective of the situation. I know that the primary concern is the "dubious" security of wikis, so this is where I must focus.
We do have blogs so it really isn't (to me) that much of a step up to start a wiki. I will now, however, remember to gear more towards the PTB's concerns rather than my needs/wants. It was also good to have the reminder to find out exactly where the objections are coming from rather than assuming that people are just trying to rain on my parade.

I love the whole concept/idea of Collective Intelligence. By working together toward the same/similar goal we can achieve so much more. We can be there to encourage/support each other as well as to help voices that might otherwise not be heard make their statement. We would all be there learning from each other and helping each other to grow in ways that we may not have been able to in different circumstances.

Since we are sharing, From Now On have a very interesting posting this week about being able to "read" across various literacies. Considering everything we have been discussing and reading through this course I found it to be very pertinant. http://fno.org/mar09/dozen.html

Mrs. K said...

Collective Intelligence seems to make so much sense so why aren’t more people doing it. Sometimes I feel that I am recreating the wheel, when I shouldn’t have to. There are so many others teaching the same discipline – imagine if we pooled all of our ideas together? I find myself asking a colleague for their opinion or their ideas on a topic or project, but it always seems to be in passing. I think if more teachers got on board with Collective Intelligence we could really be creative. It has been said many times before, “Two heads are better than one.” I find myself taking an idea from years passed or from a colleague and improving on it. I wonder what ideas would come from many people improving or expanding on past projects and ideas. I am always looking for “real-world” ways to assess my students in math. They always want to know why they need to learn this or that. If I could work with other teachers and share thoughts, ideas, and projects math could actually be fun!

Terry Freedman’s podcast and PDF were very informative. I feel rather lucky that my principal has been supportive so far. I have shared my blog with her and she will comment to our blog and to the students. I’m sure that I will come across obstacles when I try to start a class wiki and Terry’s principals and objective analysis will be very helpful. I’m sure many of the obstacles I will face will be because the administrators aren’t necessarily educated about the Web 2.0 and all the benefits to Information Literacy. I know that my principal is a member of ASCD, like Charlotte’s husband, and has attended conferences and reads many articles, but I’m sure she is going to be asking how is this “stuff” going to improve student progress?

I really enjoyed Mark Wagner’s video – It was long but very insightful and funny. I appreciated the step by step tutorial for creating a wiki. I was somewhat overwhelmed by some of the wikis I have looked out. I had no idea how I was going to link all of my pages and it turned out to be quite simple.

So, I guess in closing that Dave was right; Mark’s video left me inspired to start a class wiki. I feel that I am equipped to handle any obstacles thanks to Terry Freedman and I thanks to Mark and his step-by-step demo I don’t feel so overwhelmed by setting up my own wiki.

Charlotte Lesser said...

I think my favorite definition this week was “collective intelligence: when the whole exceeds the sum”. It really sums up for me the bottom line argument for why we should be moving our students (and teachers) towards the use of Web 2.0 tools. Learning is a two way process, with the teacher facilitating the learning process. I loved the comment that “secrecy is actually not productive” and the collective intelligence “restores the power of people over society”.

I looked at the CIA wiki, but then I decided to google the Intellipedia and came across a very interesting posting. It said that the CIA has encountered a problem with their wiki. “About all those who would have joined and shared their knowledge on the social networking site have already done so. If the intelligence agencies want to get further gains from the site, they need to incorporate it into their own formal decision making process, he contended. Until that happens, the social networking aspect of Intellipedia is “just a marginal revolution,”

The Center for CI at MIT is doing amazing work, particularly in the area of research in the area of predicting – made me think of Asimov’s Foundation series – wasn’t that based on the science of prediction?

I had trouble listening to Terry Friedman’s podcast, but I read his pdf document – WOW! Lots of very useful suggestions. I have to agree with “vivrelelibre”– I tend to be a “bulldozer” too when I want to implement something new. Terry offers some very insightful thinking into how to get what you want and get the support that you need.

Will Richardson as usual is just so clear & succinct. His “new literacies” in particular are well put: you have to be an editor as well as a reader; you must understand a variety of online publishing options; collaborate with others (CI!); and know how to manage what you create. I loved his quote about knowing how to “rip, mix and learn”! But what hit home the most was his list of what teachers need to do to reinvent themselves. We must become: connector, content creator, collaborator, coach and change agent. I like thinking of myself as a “change agent” – I actually have a pin with that saying. I may start wearing it again, if not to make others ask, just to remind myself. The other Richardson definition that I actually use a lot myself is to be a "know where" librarian. I don't know all the answers, but I usually know where to go and find them!!

And finally, I have to agree with Amy, the wiki "prayer" cracked me up.

Mrs. Cappadona said...

Carol Cappadona
In the first video it stated the job of the instructor was to pull ideas together to facilitate learning from a diverse group of learners. A constructivist point of view – we build our knowledge together from what we know, what we learn from others and make connections to new learning. We share our resources and combine ideas for greater learning. The idea that together we can do more together than we can do separately is the meaning of collective intelligence. With the Web 2.0 tools, using the read/write web, we can contribute to learning not just within our little circle of the classroom or school community, but throughout the world. Our ability to communicate with people has exponentially widened both our opportunities for new learning and the way in which we learn. We need to teach our students the skills to reach out to this global community and enable them to be active participants in their learning.
The Terry Friedman podcast is a great resource for educators to begin thinking about using these tools with students. He delineates step by step the concerns and strategies to use in attempting to convince administrators and parents the value of these web 2.0 tools. I like the way he and his wife discussed the issues and came up with strategies. The objection analysis was very helpful to me, since most of the staff members at my school have no idea what I am talking about so they could not help me with the plan for implementation. At my school, the administrator is willing to try any new technology and if it could improve student literacy, she’s all for it. The school district is also very supportive of using new technology and Web 2.0 tools. I really just need to “make a plan” and implement it. I would hate to make a mistake when trying something new and then have parents, teachers and administrators react negatively and ban the use of this wonderful accessory to learning. The pdf file is a great resource and I’m glad he wrote it out as well as used the podcast to share his idea.
Mark Wagner’s video was also helpful. He demonstrated the wiki and showed each page as he talked about it. This was great because I could see what he was doing, while he was discussing it. I am starting to be less confused by wikis. Once he demonstrated some of the features I found it easier to follow. The manage space pages also was helpful.
I have a teacher who wants to have a 5th grade class create a podcast of their research and then post it on my blog. I hope we can figure out how to do this – a first step in using Web 2.0 tools. I need to meet with the classroom teacher, the special education teacher and the tech person to discuss this project. Perhaps this is where a wiki would come in handy. I think I’ll set one up for us to communicate with each other and learn from each other.

Mrs. Patricia Colonnese said...

Thanks Charlotte for your comments about the March 09 article. I will pass that on to our staff. I found it interesting to hear of some schools doing Web 2.0 tools in secret. It is exciting.
There was a lot to cover with collective intelligence, knowledge management and collaborative networking this week. What I gathered from Terry Freedman -How to convince my principal podcast is that we need to be prepared for questions and objections. If we have a goal, how are we measuring it? I would think how do you know that you accomplished what you set out to do if you are not able to measure it. We need to be able to communicate what can these web 2.0 tools deliver? I agree it is a sales pitch and you must have 60 seconds to explain the benefits. It should be a documented plan as to what you want to accomplish. I think it is so important because we want to be heard. Other helpful hints were to do something in an area that is not doing well and it won’t make a big difference. The first thing that comes to mind is that I would want to impact CMT’s when they are not preparing for CMT.
I liked the idea of collective intelligence where the sum of the whole exceeds the sum of the parts. I would think the most important piece is that the whole participates and we are able to learn from everyone.
Previously, when I tried to create a blog, I had to get signatures from my parents . As long as I was able to prove that all responses were moderated and I used codes for the children, there was no problem.
The example of pooling intelligence with CIA intelligence was astounding considering I would always consider it top secret and never would be able to get that information. Cass Sunstein article was an eye opener. Has society made us believe that information was not shared and that you were responsible for your own work, but the concept of “shared production of information” could change the world. Why do we need to be ompetitive in our NASA findings in outer space but why not have a collaborative effort to learn from each other. The new MIT center is like depositing information in and getting back infinite amounts of information in return. The collaborative networking example at Stanford just baffles me with the potential for wikis in schools and then to have parents, students, teachers, staff all contributing.
Curriki was an interesting site but based on my set criteria for a K-5 school on curriculum topics, I was not able to discern the usefulness based on the ten topics I searched.
This just makes me so excited but I am so concerned of the feedback from administration.

Amy Kalif said...

Dangerously Irrelevant posted, or embedded I should say, a video from Youtube that reminded me of Lamb's Soft Security. I'm trying to be cool and embed the video in the blog, but I can't figure it out. I embedded it in my facebook page, but I can't get beyond that. Until I join the major league, here is the LINK.

Suzanne said...

I enjoyed experiencing the multi-media presentations during this session. It reinforced the idea that everyone has their own individual learning style. For instance, I was not a fan of the pod-cast. I did not enjoy staring at a blank screen for an hour while taking notes. I wish I had read Amy’s comments about the PDF before I started . I didn’t think to turn off the pod-cast and read the PDF. The video was more enjoyable, although I finally had to fast forward a little because the bird was louder than the speaker and very distracting.

There are so many more uses for wikis than I could have imagined. MIT’s wiki is set up as a collaborative research and project wiki, while Stanford’s seemed to be set up as a useful tool for student resources. Curriki is a place where teachers can share ideas and practices and include links for further review.

The logical steps that were presented in Terry Freidman’s pod-cast were right on. I do believe that everyone wants to do the best job that they can, that everybody wants something and that everyone is busy. Implementing change is never easy and in order to get people on board, you have to incorporate these concerns into your plan. Having a definite plan, sitting with someone to conduct an object analysis and using resources and tools already in place are definitely excellent words of advice. You have to remember not to overlook what may already be in place such as an internet safety policy, bullying policies etc. Getting all staff members involved in the project is a good way to create enthusiasm and motivation.

The concerns and issues brought up in this pod-cast will definitely need to be addressed in our Deliverable #3. I feel that this information was very important and will be very useful. I will use the PDF version for the project.

I did get some useful information out of the Wiki While you Work video (love the title). Mark had an easy way of walking you through and putting the information out in layman’s terms. As I said earlier, the bird was very distracting and the banter between the two of them was hard to follow – maybe because they were the only ones who could see the screen.

Charlotte, thank you for the information on the journal.

Amy, thank you for the laugh.

Mrs. Wright said...

This week’s session gives us a broad spectrum of ideas that relate to Web 2.0 but really ask us to redefine and extend our definition of our educational philosophy. Collective Intelligence takes us to the development of a new way to learn and understand, and it combines our social need to connect with others and to continue to learn and grow as a person. Growing up at a time where it was expected to mistrust information, especially from the government, this notion that we are more secure by sharing information is an adjustment. Still when I think of CT and just the idea of the Read Write Web, one realizes everything has changed.

Terry Freedman’s ideas and presentation also transcend how to troubleshoot starting a blog or Web 2.0 program at your school. Most of his and his wife’s ideas could be used to implement any new program in a school or community. I especially liked his motto, “no crisis too small.” It reminds us that we need to look at each facet of something new—because yes there will be a few crises along the way—but being prepared is the first step and it’s important to include a group or at least another person in this evaluation, and always be prepared with your data and research.

I am amazed at a Mark Wagner’s style. – the presentation just flew by. There was so much too learn it was easy to watch twice and realize you might go back again. I find I need this kind of clear demonstration combined with examples to see the potential uses in different settings.

Amy’s video was really thought provoking. The student’s view in Public School and Libraries of the library as a place that provides freedom to learn and grow, parallels out own quest to learn in a larger arena of the Web 2.0 where knowledge is valued for itself. In collaborative networking we combine this need/drive to know with our desire to connect and learn with others. But it is the student’s reminder that kids know the difference between authentic learning and imposed teaching to a test that touched me the most. This session points out that sometimes we need to give up some of the control we teachers like/ need to use a wiki in instruction so that students can have some control of their own learning in a safe, authentic arena. For our younger learners this may be moivation to learn, but for our teenagers is may be a more important stage in their development.

Anonymous said...

Rebecca Gordon

Collective Intelligence....I had not thought of a Wiki in that way. It was like a light bulb lit up and I realized just how diverse a Wiki can be. Mark Wagner's question to teachers about the highest form of authoratative information, which is peered reviewed journals, hit me like a brick. Students will try harder and work longer in order to impress their peers.

I took a long look at every Wiki site that Professor Fontaine asked us to look at. I could see the many possibilities of classroom use and the practical applications. At first, I was apprehensive of the use of Wikis as an educational tool and was looking to convince myself that they are.

I now have a new respect for the Wiki and am excited about using them in the future.

I wonder just what is going to come next in the future, hologramming?

Denice said...

Sorry this is long...
The basic idea of collective intelligence, in my opinion, is that EVERYONE has knowledge that is valuable so SOMEONE. Just like in eBay – someone’s junk is some else’s price collectible. We all have something to contribute.

Wikipedia is the perfect example of the benefit of valuing collective knowledge. Everyone contributes and everyone benefits. Sites like the Stanford University wiki are close to this model in that they become “better” when more people contribute but there’s evidence that there are many staff members who do not “buy in” to the wiki concept. I was surprised that many of the department links did not have information on the pages. The same is true of Curriki. The site is great if more teachers become part of the community and share their lessons and projects or expertise. The real strength of collective intelligence is when we all put in a little and get back a lot.

There are examples of collective intelligence in use all over the place, like Amazon recommendations, that’s about connecting people. Connecting people who share interests and getting them to learn from each other. Amazon keeps track of our activity and then makes “recommendations” by stating “People who bought this also purchased…..” It affords us the opportunity to see the direction of other people’s preferences and sometimes I have found something that really interests me from these suggestions. This and similar sites are always asking you to rate the information you have received on a scale of 1-5 or you are asked whether or not the information was helpful.

Google provides us with “Trends” – it asks “what are people searching for?” The sites are putting all of our thoughts and preferences together to make these suggestions. As educators, why don’t we provide our students with similar opportunities? The use of collaborative tools such as wikis will provide them with these experiences.

Whoever our students are they have experiences, knowledge, and unique perspectives. Making use of what they know and how they see the world can create a great learning environment. Use a wiki, blog with comments, or any collaborative project that they design and execute and watch the exchange of ideas!

The more we share, the more we benefit. If we educators give away some power, and some information, we’ll get so much more back from our students.

juliep said...

When I come back as a student in my next life I will want to be in Mark Wagner’s classroom. Very entertaining video about wiki’s. I am now very excited to be planning how I can use one in my library. As a research tool, which is how I envision using mine for beginners with famous American research in 3rd grade, I see that this will help the students focus in on the really important “stuff”. Asking them the basic bio info on a person when they are researching is the easy stuff, but when you ask how they influenced history? The students really flounder. Using a wiki I believe will help because they will be working off others research and adding the tidbits that they are able to pull from their research and add accordingly.

Collective intelligence is a new term to me but not the idea. We have recently begun using Gooledocs at our school for our 5th grade science fair project. In this form the teachers were able to immediately respond to the student’s outlines and projects rather than have to wait for students to turn their assignments in to the teacher. We used this in a very basic form but the teachers found that it cut down on the amount of papers that they had to take home each night to grade and make notes on. We didn’t use the option for the students to peer edit, we just weren’t ready to jump that hurdle yet, but maybe with some other project in the future. I know that this is a baby step towards what others are doing, but the teachers were very excited about this new technology and the students were very excited to be working on the computers for homework.

Thanks to Amy for the hint about the FDF for the Terry Freedman’s presentation. It was helpful for me, sitting was just not cutting it for me and I found this much easier. Brian Lamb’s article was helpful and I printed copies and placed them on the tables where my staff eat lunch, just something hopefully that will get them talking. I especially like that he said to start easy with lists or collections of links. At my school the staff are always asking for good sites on various topics and this is a great way to introduce them to a wiki in a very simple form. They can add if they want or just view if that is all they feel comfortable with. I plan on creating a wiki for just this purpose and it will also help me get my feet wet.