Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reflection on Rheingold's Video

 Module 3
Reflection on Rheingold’s Video

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?
Rheingold (2008) begins the video enlisting the audience in helping him reshape the story of how humans and other creatures get things done.  He states that a new story is beginning to emerge.  Cooperation, collective actions and complex interdependencies play much more of a role today than the role of competition and survival of the fittest.  He elaborates on the time he spent thinking about the relationship between communication media and collective action.   Human communication media and how we evolve socially have been going on for a long time.  He provides examples of small family groups and how the hunters brought down the game.  These hunters formed together to hunt bigger game.  He adds that you can’t hunt mastodons and be fighting with the group of hunters.  He believes some form of communication and collaboration must have been involved.  He remarks on how the first cities came with the growth of agriculture.  The people made marks in clay in order to keep a count on taxes. Soon after this time frame the alphabet was formed.  Advances in communication came with the creation of the printing press.  According to Rheingold (2008), the printing press caused spread of collaboration and the alphabet was no longer just for the elite. New forms of wealth emerged.  Finally, he discusses technology used today.  He states that technologies used today are based on the internet.  Every desktop in our society is equipped with some form of printing press.   I agree with Rheingold in his views of technology rapidly speeding its progress day by day.  Rheingold believes we will soon see the majority of the human race holding, carrying or wearing super computers.  I also agree with Rheingold in his thoughts that people have always had a need to interact.  I believe humans do have a basic instinct to interact and work as a group.  This has been the case since the beginning of time.  We have always had a need to share and communicate with someone.
How can technology facilitate collaboration among learners based on constructivist principles?

Technology can facilitate collaboration among learners in many ways.  In viewing the constructivist perspective, technology offers multiple ways of learning and interacting with others.  Technology addresses the concepts of constructivism through learning goals, conditions for instruction, and methods of instruction (Driscoll, 2005).  There are wealth of technology tools that provide us with the opportunity to share our ideas, express our differences and similarities and elaborate on our discoveries.  These tools include, but are not limited to Wikipedia, blog, wiki, email and Skype.

Find a current research study that has been conducted in the last 5 years that supports collaboration as an effective tool for learning. Include the link and reference for this study in your blog.
The study listed and retrieved from the above site was conducted at the Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools by Fred Newmann and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin.  2,128 students were involved.  Students were found to have significantly higher achievement on challenging tasks when they were taught with inquiry-based teaching, showing that involvement leads to understanding.  These practices were found to have more impact on student performance than any other variable, including student background and prior achievement.
I have seen first-hand how collaborative, inquiry-based teaching affects all learners.  Creating collaborative groups made up of students from a variety of backgrounds, with different levels of knowledge, benefits all learners. Our human race naturally has the desire to share and communicate in order to gain new knowledge, generate new thoughts and make connections with our existing knowledge.


Barron, B. and Hammond, L. (2008). Powerful Learning: Studies Show Deep Understanding Derives from Collaborative Methods Retrieved from
Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed). Boston MA:  Pearson Education, Inc.
Rheingold, H. (2008, February). Howard Rheingold on collaboration. Vodcast posted to   
 I have commented on thes post: 

 Curtiss Vavra, Cheryl Carroll and Sandra Dykes 


  1. Hello Debra,

    Technology offers so many different ways to plan learning experiences where students can collaborate in our classroom. Our online classes have introduced new ways for me to use tools such as the blog, wiki, and Skype to provide meaningful learning experiences. Technology motivates our students, and it captures their attention. Collaborative, inquiry-based teaching does have a positive outcome for learners. It reminds me of the theory presented by "Jerome Bruner" where cognitive learning takes place by doing.


  2. Hi Debbie,

    Rheingold (2008), as you have articulated well, offered a number of thought-provoking points about collaboration, and the one I found most interesting -- if not unquestionably insightful -- is the one metamorphically tied to hunting. Hunting is interesting because it's virtually a pasttime in the United States, and from my vantage point as a journalist, it is often couched in political terms (Second Amendment) as something each person of a given age has a constitutional right to do under the aegis of the right to bear arms.

    But I understand the Rheingold (2008) reference as it relates to the collaborative aspect in having others coalesce to help bag the big game -- or accomplish a very challenging mission. I, of course, referred to South Africa's Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and white rhinocerous) in my own blog as they are politely but respectfully called, because of the enormous challenges big game hunters face in a section of the world where I led a media delegation several years ago. No question, Rheingold's (2008) collaborative hunting reference is apt. As he effectively pointed out in the video, it is going to take the collective and collaborative efforts of others if we as a society are going to be able to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

    Nice touch, Debbie.



    Rheingold, H. (2008, February). Howard Rheingold on collaboration [Video file]. Retrieved from