Digital Identity: December 1-18, 2009

You are what you share

You are what you share

by Cindy Underhill -
Number of replies: 6
This statement is deceptively simple, yet it may be at the heart of the sore spot with the concept of open sharing (think patents, copyright, intellectual property, etc.). Yet, at the same time there is a long tradition of collaboration in research (consider the world wide collaboration in the field of human genetics). As Norm Friesen points out in his Chapter on Critical Theory:
"behind the natural or obvious truths are clashing social and human interests."

So, here a few questions to ponder prior to the discussion over the next few days:
  • why do you think some people might be uncomfortable with this statement?
  • what value(s) are implied?
  • what might be some implications re:digital identity?
And, as you have already demonstrated, you'll likely have many more interesting questions of your own - feel free to start a new thread if this topic isn't meaningful for you.
In reply to Cindy Underhill

Re: You are what you share

by Cindy Underhill -
At the risk of appearing to be talking to myself, thought I'd share this in the hope of generating more of your thoughtful comments:

Why might people be uncomfortable with the concept “you are what you share”?
* it may challenge what you’ve grown up to value. Consider the person whose career and livelihood is built on a reputation for her published work based on original ideas – competition is what has been the arena in which she has operated through academia and in her career. Now, she is expected to share her work, online, with others?
* it can make a young person feel like a mistake is irreparable. Consider a teenage boy who is exploring his sexuality and sends a racy text to a girl he likes. That girl forwards it to a friend who sends it to another friend and so on until the whole school knows. What has that young person learned about sharing?
* people share for many reasons – some of which are not what you might call honorable. Does it matter – as long as they are sharing?
* mixed messages in schools and institutions – you are what you share but if you share, you’ll be a plagiarist and you’ll be punished or (we’ll catch you) because we use Facebook too!

The value implied is that sharing online is good – and not sharing is a barrier to creativity and democracy. While we may believe that (hold that value)– we need to help young people think about the implications of sharing for themselves so that they can exercise their right to share what they want, when they want and with whom they choose. We don’t have all the answers for them. Many of us are struggling with these implications ourselves. The best we can do is go with them – help them work it out in a way that helps them build the skills and critical thinking capacities that will give them confidence to face the storms born out of human foibles that are bound to occur when participating in visible, shareable online spaces.

Thoughts?



In reply to Cindy Underhill

Re: You are what you share

by Paddy Fahrni -
Just a few thoughts:

Control or share?
In this discussion, sharing is talked about as collaboration. Sharing is giving out ideas and content but also getting, or being exposed to, ideas and content. If you view online networks as an open, lateral systems in contrast to the controlled, hierarchical system of formal ed institutions, then in moving to sharing ideas/content online you relinquish control of those ideas. You also give up control of how people interpret or use your ideas. However, your participation exposes you to multiple, diverse views – key to growing your own learning and expanding your ideas. Collaboration also connects you to a wider engagement in (the common goal of collaboration). I believe it's the giving up of control that is uncomfortable for many.

Awareness:
Alice asked, “Can we tailor how others see us?”. Cindy suggests awareness of what online participation means in terms of searches and data mining will result in people controlling their online identities – as we control our F2F identities as appropriate to our participation, e.g.at a staff meeting, out with friends.

I've noted, and found it odd, that a person who may control sharing of content online in a professional mode, may share freely in a social network ( perhaps resulting in being kicked off an electoral slate as we've seen in Vancouver). Yet those modes of online participation are not separate, as many reported in the first activity.


Thanks - enjoying all postings,
P
In reply to Paddy Fahrni

Re: You are what you share

by Cindy Underhill -

Paddy Fahrni wrote,

in moving to sharing ideas/content online you relinquish control of those ideas. You also give up control of how people interpret or use your ideas. However, your participation exposes you to multiple, diverse views key to growing your own learning and expanding your ideas.

Nicely put. Though I am not so sure we ever had (or could have) control over how a person interprets or uses another's ideas. Certainly open sharing on the web exposes those ideas to a much, much, much wider range of people (including others who may have had the idea at the same time or who have other ideas to directly challenge your own). This kind of exposure, is scary for some who are accustomed to sharing their ideas in much smaller circles. However, as you point out, if we can balance that fear with the possibility of enriching our ideas with the multiple points of view you describe - we really are getting the best that we have to offer each other.

What's increasingly apparent to me, though, is that most of our students are under incredible pressure to produce (perhaps at the expense of learning) and - given the time constraints we place on them in formal, higher-ed - they will be looking for the quickest way to do that - which (apparently) means sticking to the resources you know and asking the instructor when confused. It takes some time to build a rich, trusted personal network of resources to support learning. Do we value that activity and (if so) how do we support it?

Cindy
In reply to Cindy Underhill

Re: You are what you share

by Nicholas Bowskill -
As always I'm following these discussions with great interest. One thing that prompted me to jump in here was that much has been made of a network of contacts and the value of diverse perspectives. What hasn't been voiced quite as much is the issue of obtaining a view of the community-level perspective. Maybe we can think about the community is what it shares collectively as much as individually?

By this I mean the ability to participate in and view the concerns of your own sub-community and then that of the wider community. Roy Pea calls this the importance of seeing what you build together; David McConnell refers to this as making learning public; and the Project Zero team at Harvard refer to it in a schools-based context as Making Learning Visible.

What I am struggling to suggest is that it is important and valuable for identity and learning to get the collective view of those with whom you are learning. I believe this is part of supporting a learning network for students but also part of visualising that peer-network/community.

I came up with the concept of Shared Thinking as my contribution to supporting and developing this idea through the use of voting technology and interactive whiteboards. This is not for teaching (as they are commonly used) but for collaborative reflection. The outcome of Shared Thinking is a view of the concerns of the whole group quantified in relation to each other. This is a valuable resource for a community and an individual that may make the call upon a personal network more operable, efficient and effective. For anyone interested, more available at http://sharedthinking.info

Best wishes and thanks for a great discussion here

Nick


Nicholas Bowskill
Faculty of Education
University of Glasgow
Scotland, UK

Creator of Shared Thinking
http://sharedthinking.info
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: You are what you share

by Nicholas Bowskill -
Please excuse me. I gave the wrong web address for Shared Thinking. It should have been http://www.sharedthinking.info


My apologies.

Nick


Nicholas Bowskill
Faculty of Education
University of Glasgow
Scotland, UK

Creator of Shared Thinking
http://www.sharedthinking.info
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: You are what you share

by Sylvia Currie -
Nick,
This "shared thinking" is such an interesting area. I remember some earlier work by Jim Hewitt from University of Toronto that really caught my attention. He referred to the problem of "group coherence" which essentially described the difficulties of making learning/process visible in project-based learning. This was over 12 years so there was little available in terms of solutions!

I followed your http://sharedthinking.info link but got to a 123-reg.co.uk hosting page. Is there a another way to get to the site? Can't wait to find out more about your project!