Connecting 131024

Kristen Swanson wrote a brief post two days ago about Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take.
She shares three profiles from the book:

  • People who help others without hesitation (Givers).
  • People who help others but expect reciprocation in return (Matchers).
  • People who mostly take from others (Takers).

These profiles took me back to James Redfield’s Celestine Prophecy (1993) and his discussion of energy givers and takers and reminded me too of Malcolm Gladwell’s connectors.
Kristen went on to reflect on her personal learning network (PLN) and observed:

my PLN is full of givers. When I engage my PLN on Twitter around a topic, question, or resource, I’m always amazed by how freely they give. In turn, I honestly enjoy giving back whenever I can. This exchange (which is organic and far from “an eye for an eye”) has improved me as a person and as an educator.

Stephen Downes plays an important role in my personal learning. I noticed this week that Stephen had written about e-portfolios. Stephen suggests that “students will be responsible for managing their own online learning records and creative products”. I am hopeful that this leads to a growing altruism of open sharing.
Last month’s announcement of the Wales Open Education Declaration of Intent makes this open sharing an important characteristic of higher education. Universities in Wales have agreed “to ensure that any designated teaching and learning material released under open licence can be adapted and redistributed without cost or restriction”. (I am grateful to a  Martin Weller tweet for a link to this declaration.)
I think that this will be an environment where the cMOOCs, described by Jenny Mackness this week, will flourish. It is interesting to note the verbs Jenny used to characterise cMOOC activity: distribute, network, immerse, disrupt, self-organise, remix, repurpose and co-create.
A delightful email to me from Hugh Nguyen this morning brought all these ideas into focus. With Hugh’s permission, I am sharing the insights he shared with me:

we use dropbox to share the media amongst the coaches, we decided to open up all the materials we used to the junior coaches in ACT. They might get some ideas, share with us some ideas, or just find a different level of enjoyment watching the games knowing more about the background.

Hugh uses MailChimp as his newsletter platform. The idea for his project came from reading Take Your Eye Off the Ball. Hugh is able to follow up on the use coaches make of his open sharing in order to refine how he shares information.
Hugh’s email encouraged me to think about how coach education and development programs might start to use this cooperative approach. For many years now, I have been hopeful that all the millions of person hours spent analysing opponents could become a commonwealth of knowledge to support the flourishing of sports. There are so many resources to give and share. Perhaps in Kristen and Adam’s terms, we could all start by reciprocating sharing (matching).
After reading Jennifer Roberts’ post on Patience, I have a better insight into the pedagogical support needed to encourage giving. I liked her suggestion that she acts as an engineer in the pace and tempo of learning experiences to stimulate immersive attention:

Every external pressure, social and technological, is pushing students in the other direction, toward immediacy, rapidity, and spontaneity—and against this other kind of opportunity. I want to give them the permission and the structures to slow down.

I think open sharing and connecting makes this slowing down more possible.
Three young female kids, girls sharing one stand-up paddle board

Photo Credits

Common land (Joss Winn, CC BY NC-SA 2.0)
Shareholder value in the state forest (Markus Spring, CC BY NC-SA 2.0)

Three young female kids, girls sharing one stand-up paddle board (Mike Baird, CC BY 2.0)


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