Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Changing Times

In a recent Point of View article in The Chronicle Review, Cathy N. Davidson expresses her opinion on the Middlebury College History Department's recent snubbing of Wikipedia and why academic institutions can no longer ignore the changes that are being brought about by social software technologies and the types of creative dynamics they enable. The issues discussed in Cathy's piece have relevance to social collaborative tools such as wikis and the types of co-constructed knowledge spaces that Croquet-based educational environments make possible.

Today's co-constructed 3D environments provide us with the potential to disseminate ideas as visual and dynamic objects in the way that text-based facts and ideas are constructed and disseminated via today's Wikipedia. This capability will have a profound effect on the academic world in that it has the potential to fundamentally change to how we communicate and learn. The changing legitimacy of Wikipedia is only the tip of the iceberg. The advent of social software and self-regulating large-scale group dynamics stands to challenge traditional models of instruction, authorship, copyright, and the value of static auteur-generated scholarly works.


Emo said...

IMO, Wikipedia did the impossible - maybe the biggest social experiment showing self-regulating open system. Applying these result to 3D content creation isn't far from telling 2+2=4 and as we can see with SL and ActiveWorlds, and hopefully Croquet in the future, amazing things can happen. I'm personally happy to live in this century and see the things developing in this way.
Companies are starting to get it - of course in their own way ;) Corporate wikis are already a common way of sharing knowledge (although mostly internally only). Still lot of time till we see this with virtual coporate worlds.

Anonymous Coward said...

It's perhaps a bit ironic that the Middlebury College Department of History uses this as its online mission statement:

"The Department of History seeks to instill in its majors and in students from other disciplines who sample its offerings the awareness that no effort to make the past meaningful, the present intelligible, or the future conceivable can be divorced from the effort to comprehend change over time."

Anonymous said...

I'm continually perplexed by tech types' eagerness to "challenge traditional models of instruction, authorship, copyright, and the value of static auteur-generated scholarly works." What's so bad about traditional models of scholarly authorship? Is the existing process of comparative research and peer review really so deficient?