Saturday, 23 August 2014

Create, Share & Collaborate?

For those that have seen my GTA video or participated in some of my recent sessions and workshops, you might have noted that Create, Share & Collaborate is a phrase I use frequently. With this I want to describe the 21C process of creating new knowledge, not keeping it to yourself but sharing it with others, and working on it together (from Latin 'com' (with, together) and 'laborare' (work) - 8y Latin were not in vain!).

This applies to children at school as well as to adults. With young children the notion to Create is not hard to instill, in my experience young children are inherently creative. When they start school patient teachers help them to direct their creativity. Sharing, as all parents and educators of young children know, is a skill that needs to be learnt, and it comes easier to some than to others. The key competencies of Managing Self and Relating to Others from our NZC are supporting young people to learn how to Share and to Collaborate.

The older we get, the more issues seem to come up with Sharing and Collaboration; questions are being asked, e.g. how do we assess the contribution an individual has made towards an project counting for NCEA? Could someone get away with doing nothing and let others do all the work? Shouldn't we better stick with everyone for themselves so we can get correct results?

My thinking is that maybe we are rolling this up from the wrong end; do we believe that Sharing and Collaboration are vital for successfully participating in society in 21C? If so, what opportunities does our current education system provide to acknowledge and support Sharing and Collaboration? Where there are not enough opportunities, what changes can we make to provide these?

When we extend this thinking beyond school, there are is a lot of Create, Share & Collaborate evident in the interactions of Tweeps or Tweachers (how I sometimes like to call them). They freely share resources with each other, give advice, there is a productive mixture of consuming and creating going on (another phrase I have come to love since the lovely +Catriona Pene  brought it to my attention). This strongly reminds me of my time as music teacher back in the late 90s when under the guidance of our then Music Advisor Margaret Williams we regularly met as cluster and shared and collaborated.

Still, not everyone understands this concept and / or is willing to create as well as consume. Every now and then I hear of people who have taken someone else's work and used it as if it was their own, either by accident, forgetting to attribute, by ignorance, not realising they need to attribute, or on purpose, not wanting to attribute.

Intellectual Property Right is a complex issue, and I would like to advise everyone to start researching it. I would not claim that I know the ins and outs of it, but to give you and example, if you work at a NZ school, unless your school has a Creative Commons Licence, everything you produce as teacher is property of the BoT. As far as I understand this extends to your right of sharing resources with other teachers, or taking units you have created with you when you leave the school. If you work in private business, there might yet be other IP issues to be considered.

How does this fit with Create, Share & Collaborate being vital for successful participating in 21C society? Will we have to wait for a change only when our current primary age children, having grown up in a system of Create, Share & Collaborate to become adult members of our society? What can you and I do today? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Since I first published this post this morning, I had a little twitter conversation with +Sonya Van Schaijik who reminded me that before Collaboration, a Connection has to happen. A very valid point, and as as she will be co-presenting on this together at Ulearn14 I will book in for that session, especially as connecting and relationships are absolutely vital for learning.

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