Open Thinkering


Tag: Stephen Downes

Knowledge Management & Networks

Cognitive Edge image

I’m thinking expanding the scope of my thesis (probably at a time when I should be thinking of focusing a bit more, but never mind). Instead of perpetuating the dividing walls between schools, universities and businesses, perhaps I could look at broader themes and trends and then bring them down to a practical level for each. Kind of what George Siemens has done with Knowing Knowledge – although there’s no way I could write anything as magnificent!

Stephen Downes links today in his OLDaily newsletter to an article by Dave Snowden entitled Natural Numbers, Networks & Communitiies. Dave realizes that attempts to create a taxonomy for knowledge management followed by forcing people to adapt to it does not work. Instead, he advocates embracing the messiness of learning and development through informal communities.

He goes on to talk about natural numbers and the amount of people who should be involved at each stage which isn’t relevant to what I’m doing. What is relevant, however, is his identification of a ‘messy learning’ approach to knowledge management and the ways in which this can be harnessed in a positive way. If only schools were that responsive…?

Groups vs. Networks

Comparing groups with networks may be a good idea to get across why education needs to change to meet the needs of 21st-century knowledge. Stephen Downes posted this image to Flickr (there’s a video of him explaining it as well):

Groups vs. Networks

There’s also a presentation here. It might be an idea to discuss the ‘wisdom of crowds’ in my thesis and how and why this could be applied to classrooms.?

The difference between groups and networks

George Siemens sums up Stephen Downes’ distinction between groups and networks in Groups vs. Networks:

‘Groups require unity, networks require diversity. Groups require coherence, networks require autonomy. Groups require privacy or segregation, networks require openness. Groups require focus of voice, networks require interaction.’

This will be relevant in terms of thinking about the nature of knowledge in a networked environment with a collection of people which make up ‘expertise’.?