Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is it a who?

Stephen Downes in 2006 made this video in which he compares groups and networks. He says groups have four major elements:

  1. Unity
  2. Coordination
  3. Closed Membership
  4. Distributed
Downes notes that networks also have four elements:
  1. Diversity
  2. Autonomy
  3. Openness
  4. Connective
He sees, as I understand (and I have no doubt he will correct me), the major difference to be in the source of learning or leadership. In a group it is a top-down, passive type. In networks it is a grassroots, participatory type. This seems to be the major difference between your mother's tv and your ustream.

I see yet another congregation between groups and networks. Some communities have elements of both groups and networks. In thinking of EdTechTalk, it is a group because we are centered around webcasting, but we are the four elements of a network. According to Downes definition, the EdTechTalk community is not a group. But we are. We are a closed community in that we share a common interest. We certainly are not passive.

I would welcome the comments of other network participants and especially those from the FOC08 community.

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