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Posts Tagged ‘collaboration

Many years ago, I used to tease student teachers into thinking more deeply about the differences between cooperation and collaboration. I would say:

  • Cooperation is 1+1=2
  • Collaboration is 1+1=3

They would eventually figure out some elements of what John Spencer distilled recently.

But the more direct answer to my riddle is in this tweet.

The result of cooperation is often the sum of its parts. The result of collaboration is a new birth.

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Today I share another part of my series on informal and emergent learning with Minecraft. This episode focuses on opportunities for connecting and collaborating with other players.

This video is different in a few ways.

First, instead of presenting it as one continuous video, there are a total of five smaller parts (including the introduction above).

Second, this video was a combination of videos recorded and edited over a few weekends. I typically try one-take wonders because they are easier to edit. But the new version of iMovie in Mac OS Maverick is more usable than the previous version so I am flexing a little post-production muscle.

Third, this video does not include the usual CeL-Ed lead-in and lead-out video segments. This is to prevent confusion when selecting which parts to watch.

I recommend watching the videos on a desktop or laptop web browser so that you can click on hotspots. But I provide links to the video segments in the video descriptions in YouTube should you be on a more mobile device.

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When I watched yesterday’s Wongfu Weekend episode with my son, I told him this was a good instance of how cooperation is often better than competition.

Minecraft is a sandbox game that has no fixed rules. As a player, you decide what you want to do, and that is probably one of the major reasons why this game is so popular.

In the video, Phil and Wes (who are new to the game) are coached by Ted and David respectively.

Phil and Ted opted to take the more constructive route. Wes and David went on a destructive rampage. They eventually fought each other even as zombies, skeletons, and spiders attacked them both.

If they had cooperated, they would have survived the night. Because they competed, their game avatars died. That is a lesson in Minecraft you can take into life.

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I used to show other videos to generate discussion on the differences between cooperation and collaboration.

I think I will start using the one above as it is more apt at drawing out principles of true collaboration.

I like watching Marco Tempest, technoillusionist extraordinaire! I have watched his TED talks and now I feature his talk on Inventing the Impossible.

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One of the things he said struck a chord with me.

He explained how magicians of old lived by the code of secrecy. But in modernizing magic with technology, he found that he could not protect his knowledge. Instead, he chose to share experiences with his audience and saw the importance of collaborating with others. He might be the first person to coin the phrase “open source magic”!

I think the parallels in education are in collaborating, being open, and collaborating openly.

There is too much information now for one person to know. Teachers need to form collaborative networks of teachers-as-learners if we are to stay relevant to our learners.

As we teach, we could share openly instead of hoarding what we think we know. If we do not share, our audience will simply go elsewhere. If we do not share, we do not build up our reputational capital.

The problems we leave for our children are more complex than ours and we do not have all the solutions. But we could adopt an approach that will help them solve those problems. That approach is open collaboration. After all, we cannot each be brilliant, but we can be collectively brilliant.

One other thought: A talent like Marco Tempest draws from multiple fields. He is good at what he does not just because he specializes, but also because he can connect the dots by connecting with other people.

I watched these YouTube videos and picked up some principles of collaboration.

1) It requires a lot of planning, hard work, and persistence in the face of failure. The insights gained from the process are as important as (sometimes more so than) the product.

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2) You can “collaborate” with yourself with the help of technology. Get creative.

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3) If you are going to collaborate with technology, do not use it to do the same old thing. Think different, do different, be different. Think better, do better, be better.

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This iOS game, Johnny Test: Roller Johnny, is different in that you can create shared gaming spaces simply by putting other iPhones or iPads nearby.

Some might propose that this idea could be extended simply to share and extend a digital whiteboard. But that idea is not valuable in itself. More complex variants of that idea might be.

For example, I can imagine three or four iPhone/iPod Touch instrument apps near a central iPad or computer that serves as a mixer or compiler for music notation, synthesis or creation.

I can also imagine a multimedia project group first brainstorming and then managing their project with this tool. First each member composes ideas in their own devices and “flicks” them to the central device which is displayed for all to see and discuss.

After the group agrees on a plan of action, each member uses a different tool on each device, e.g., web search, background music composition, video editing, and text crafting. They then discuss their progress in real time by sending updates to the central device and by putting the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together.

Ooh, I smell an app for project-based learning!

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