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Resistance is futile…

April 14, 2008

They say that great minds think alike.

Over the weekend I was thinking of a discussion I had with John Pederson and Annette Smith a few days ago. In short, we discussed how the network is more powerful than the nodes ~ referring to a great cartoon that John had posted in his blog last year:

I took that a step further by replying with a picture of a Borg Cube ~ a reference to Star Trek that isn’t so obscure ~ but only as tongue-in-cheek. The Borg, a fully connected society where individuals had lost their meaning as little more than tools to the cluster, lacked free will.

Free will would be perhaps the greatest strength and Achilles heel of such a society. In a smaller community, it might perhaps be a weakness. It tends to spread the community thin, causes its members to lose focus, and can birth politics as competing interests collide. But in a larger society there are more resources; free will can provide the spark that helps great ideas become raging infernos.

In Star Trek, a lead character struggled with this individuality after being cut off from her community. From time to time, she would reconnect ~ the struggle between her being part of the community and having free will being a major theme of her character. After being introduced to Twitter, I can kind of understand the struggle she went through!

Within Twitter, you form a community by following people who you think are interesting. Perhaps they follow you back. In 140 characters or less, you can share your thoughts and actions with those who follow you. Things you’re reading that you find interesting, asking for help on a project ~ whatever.

Amazingly, people will answer you. Ideas travel at the speed of the Internet.

New Twitter friend Chad Lehman posted a similar thought on his blog last night:

I have always heard that big wheels turn slowly. And of course education tends to be a very big wheel… But I really like the way that the lead has been taken in so many of these communication technologies specifically by educators. These changes are actually taking place FASTER in the EduSphere than they are across so many other places.

Granted, there are still schools banning cell phones, and we’re still teaching to the NCLB testing framework ~ but perhaps it is because communication provides a release for so many repressed teachers that blogging, Twitter, delicious and web 2.0 technologies are thriving in education.

We can communicate once again. And when we can communicate, we can teach and learn. As that network grows and grows, and ideas spread quickly and find purchase, we accelerate the speed at which we can teach and learn. It becomes a self feeding loop.

Is there a downside? My guess would be yes. But that is perhaps left for a different post ~

Just remember, resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

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