Lankshear and Knobel. Fifth Chapter. Collaborative Practices.

collage new literacies

The proliferation of collaborative practices is having an important impact in educational and working environments. The chapter focuses in exploring blogs and wikis as participatory and collaborative literacy practices.

I found interesting the evolution of blogging practices which are increasing due to the accessibility of easy-to-use publishing tools and hosting services. In terms of encouraging students’ participation and engaging in these types of blogging practices I think it is very important Technorati’s 2010 survey findings about the impact of mobile devices and shorter posts encouraging participation and providing dynamism to the exchange communication. We certainly can relate to our ds106 experience where microblogging and short posts are proving to be meaningful and engaging for our community. As Lankshear and Knobel mentioned, blogs are a flexible medium and a result of practices that are constantly evolving.

One idea that resonated with me was when the authors pointed out the little research focused on the readers’ impact despite the interactive nature of blog as a medium. In my opinion this is an important variable due to all the different interactions and activities occurring when developing a blog, and even more relevant when writing and reading multiblogger blogs. In massive collaborative experiences both participants and participation implies interactions and actions were readers and writers interact in a complex level of active contribution.

Lankshear and Knobel referred to the potential that wikis have in education to promoting massive collaborative educational projects. They mentioned that “wikis are widely identified as collaborative software” (p. 161) I found very enlightening the explanation of Wikipedia as participatory culture space were the community of authors play different roles and get involved in the creation process as a community-system where the interactions are addressed as a system perspective. This is an advance level of participation and I personally think it will be a great addition to include more serious practices in pedagogical practices. The experience of Bruckman (2005) to progressively transforming participation in collaborative projects can be an inspirational start point for other educational projects to understand and interact actively in collaborative projects.

In terms of collaboration work I experienced as a student and as a teacher the difficulties to work collaboratively. In most of the experiences I remember the teams divided work into specific tasks and then everyone worked individually and added their contributions to a whole, but the real collaborative work was absent. the final result was a compilation of individual ideas and tasks but not a group perspective product. To provide training and opportunities to exchange ideas, modify a common work, and create a team voice is in my opinion very important. In an interesting cross-cultural research O’Brien, Alfano, and Magnusson (2007) found that using digital technologies increase intercultural competencies. They concluded that using communication technologies improve social relations and can positively influence human attitudes and behaviors.

“Our project discovered that when students and teachers learn best practices for using information and communication technologies, they gain knowledge not simply in modes for digital discourse but the development of tools to build relationships, cross-culturally situated knowledge, and new media writing products that in turn advance research and learning in the field.” (O’Brien, Alfano, and Magnusson, 2007 )

Blogs, Wikis, and collaborative literacy practices provided important opportunities to engage students in one of the most complex educational goals: working collaboratively. Knowledge building in participatory cultures requires developing a sense of group work, and identify as an active part of a system where each member contribution is important and is building a whole perspective. That is very difficult and requires practice, flexibility and responsibility but the benefits are priceless.References

    • Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2011). New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning. New York: Open University Press.
    • O’Brian, A., Alfano, C., Magnusson, E. (2007) Improving cross-cultural communication through collaborative technologies      [Online]

Click to access OBrienPersuasiveTech.pdf

10 responses to “Lankshear and Knobel. Fifth Chapter. Collaborative Practices.”

  1. Rosanna, the topic of one of my classes this spring was project management. It focused a lot on emotional intelligence and group management. What I learned mostly is that I don’t really know how to collaborate! Meaning that, it’s more than just working in a group and contributing pieces to a whole. As you noted, it requires developing a sense of self, of community and practice. It truly is a very complex process that has to be learned.

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    1. Alicia, I totally agreed with you, project management is a very complex process and more when it must be adapted to each group you work with. Emotional Intelligence development and knowledge make team work easier, but as every personal skill, it requires time to learn and develop proper skills.

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  2. Rosanna,
    I like your comment about how a blog or wiki could help collaboration among different social and cultural gaps. The school I currently teach at is close to a 50/50 split caucasian and latino students. And unfortunately there is a difference in who hangs out with who. I wonder if something like a blog or wiki would (not necessarily erase) but close the gap between those different cultures and backgrounds a little?

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    1. Erin, I think almost any kind of collaborative strategy have great potential to encourage inclusion. I am a believer of digital technology with adequate teaching approach can improve diversity integration at schools.

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  3. I really love how you are wrestling with incorporating what we are learning into your teaching style. Yes, true collaboration is incredibly hard to achieve when the goal isn’t quite as simple as producing factual information as seen in Wikipedia. I imagine the objectives in teaching are much more dynamic and harder to define.

    Last week I found Google’s new educational app, Google Classroom. (https://classroom.google.com/u/0/ineligible) I wonder if it could be helpful in helping to execute all your fantastic ideas in the classroom and beyond. Thank you for sharing your insights Maria!

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    1. Susannah, thanks for your comment and the link. I will explored it, sounds interesting.

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  4. […] Lankshear and Knobel. Fith Chapter. Collaborative Practices. […]

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    1. Susannah, thanks for your comment and the link. I will explored it, sounds interesting.

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  5. Rosanna-
    I enjoyed reading your review of chapter 5.
    I agree that being able to work collaboratively is an important skill. Especially, since collaboration is a buzz word in education right now. Unfortunately, I think that collaboration (team work) does not work well for all students (or teams). I think having skills balanced in independent (individual) work and team work is essential for all students to be productive, successful individuals (in work and school).

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    1. Aaron, I appreciated your comment. As you mentioned, team work is one of the hardest things to teach and learn. Personally I feel more comfortable and I am far more productive working individually that in group projects; but we are constantly forced to work in a community of practice and we need to learn how to work as part as a team. I think it is important to teach how to work collaboratively, unfortunately we frequently request students to develop group projects but rarely take the serious time to train students in the complex knowledge of project management. It is an important subject to learn and like everything requires practice and identify personal skills.

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