Do you believe that humans have a basic instinct to “interact and work as a group,” as Rheingold proposed in his discussion of the evolution of Wikipedia as a collectively developed encyclopedia?
Speaking from my personal experiences, I believe that humans have the basic instinct to “interact and work as a group” as stated in Rheingold’s video. I find that when I am in a group it is less of a challenge to accomplish a goal when I can collaborate with my peers. I also find that when my students are in a challenging situation that it is natural for them to look around and find a peer who does not feel that the assigned task is a challenge. Often times, the students begin to collaborate in order for them to successfully accomplish the assigned task. The Metiri Group conducted a study on the impact of collaborative learning the results revealed substantial gains in academic achievement. For more information about this study you can visit http://www.cisco.com/web/about/citizenship/socio-economic/docs/Metiri_Classroom_Collaboration_Research.pdf
How can technology facilitate collaboration among learners based on constructivist principles?
According to the Driscoll (2005), a constructivist acquires knowledge as they “attempt to make sense of their experiences” (p. 387). So we as teachers need to provide students with learning experiences that will allow them to build on their prior knowledge and connect it to their newly acquired knowledge. In this setting, students need to be actively engaged in collaboration and working in cooperative groups. The role of the teacher is to provide “an environment for spontaneous research, understanding the social and collaborative nature of learning, helping children construct knowledge and initiate problem-based, project-oriented work” (Nanjappa & Grant). As a result, technology is used as a tool to engage learners in meaningful task that will assist them in acquiring, interpreting, and organizing knowledge.
CISCO (2009). The impact of collaborative, scaffolded learning in k-12schools: A meta-analysis Retrieved http://www.cisco.com/web/about/citizenship/socio-economic/docs/Metiri_Classroom_Collaboration_Research.pdf
Nanjappa, A. & Grant, M. (n.d.). Constructing on constructivism: the role of technology. Retrieved http://ejite.isu.edu/Volume2No1/nanjappa.htm
Rheingold, H. (2009) Way-new collaboration retrieved fromhttp://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/howard_rheingold_on_collaboration.html