Week 2 A1: We participate therefore we are?

Reflections on the webcast by John Seely Brown  http://stadium.open.ac.uk/stadia/preview.php?whichevent=1063&s=31

Your work so far on H800 includes some individual reading, listening and perhaps viewing. Does Brown’s argument imply that this is less valuable than your group work? It is illogical for John Seely Brown to claim that study groups are the “best indicator for success” when he is asking us to listen to one person – himself! – in lecture mode.’


Well listened to the first 20 minutes for the talk – Personally I could listen to him all day – for me he has such a lovely way of speaking – although I admit that some of it went over my head though but some of it really struck a chord.

At first glance it might seem a bit contradictory ( perhaps illogical ) as the environment of the talk lends itself to a traditional lecture format and doesn’t embrace some of the techniques that would truly allow the audience to be part of the experience and therefore engage in collaborative learning  ( I say this of only the parts that I have viewed so far of course )

I agree that the purpose of Brown’s presentation was to endorse the value of study groups and for me the key thing here is that he focuses on the value of social construction of ‘understanding’ rather than the knowledge aspect. I don’t think he particularly mean that individual learning was less valuable , just that collaborative could offer additional value…?


 What are the implications of his argument for your own use of technology – in your own learning and teaching?As usual, please interpret ‘teaching’ very broadly to include a wide range of roles. If you are not working in technology-enhanced learning, consider the role of technology in your informal support of others – friends, family members, colleagues

For me I find it incredibly helpful to reinforce my own understanding of a concept within a group although I would certainly agree with some of the points that have been made on the discussion forum that discussions can be stressful ! I think the key to collaborative learning is creating a safe and respectful environment where people feel supported , valued and reassured that no question is a stupid one !

What are your reactions to Brown’s style of presentation? What are its strengths and weaknesses compared with other presentations you have seen?

I liked listening to him and it did not seem like ‘death by Powerpoint’  but again because of the potential contraction between the nature of the talk and the chosen talk environment, what would have been interesting to see is what happened after the lecture ?  I quickly whizzed to the end but it does stop at the end of the talk which is of course not unusual but I did wonder did people talk about it afterwards ?  Would that interaction led to a deeper level of understanding  of the issues raised in the talk and as that would have taken place in a social context would that have then backed up Seely Brown’s argument that ‘Understanding not knowledge is socially constructed ?’