I finished the latest Think-know Tools course organized by Howard Rheingold about the theoretical-historical background of intellect augmentation and the practical skills of personal knowledge management. I’m becoming quite a veteran of his courses, and I continue meeting co-learners via the HRU Alumni network.
These meetings are very webby – completely dispersed over various platforms and tools. I’ll give an overview:
- The socialmediaclassroom itself. Now the course is finished, there is hardly any activity there, the venue is more like an archive of forum discussions, blog posts, mindmaps and lexicons we produced during the course. One participant however continued posting about SOLE (Self-Organized Learning Environments) which is a learning model for children – primarily giving them the affordances needed to explore their own interests and passions. The participant considers it relevant for adults as well and refers to the World Cafe conversations (pdf).
- The Google+ HRU Alumni community (private). One of the discussions going on there is whether we should use an email newsletter to help alumni keep track of the various projects and discussions, or rather a tool such a paper.li. The incredible Ted Newcomb already runs a rheingold-u daily paper.li.
- During the course we gathered and discussed bookmarks in the social bookmark service Diigo and people remain active there: sharing information about practical stuff (embedding Facebook-posts, creating RSS-feeds for Twitter), artsy subjects such as The Skewed, Anamorphic Sculptures and Engineered Illusions of Jonty Hurwitz and peer2peer-learning (Peeragogy is another project where HRU Alumni are active, and they recently got their first scholarly citation).
- In a more experimental context people are trying out the TeamBrain – a kind of collaborative database-mindmap (a product by TheBrain). One possible application, suggested at yet another online forum specifically for this project, could be building a comprehensive resource for all the pro and con references regarding the above mentioned SOLE. This resource would be publishable. However, other possible projects are being discussed.
- Of course there are the individual activities of the alumni – Howard Rheingold publishing about Doug Engelbart in the MIT Technology Review about his Unfinished Revolution, leading to a discussion with Dave Winer.
- There has been some talk in the alumni network about a session with Dave Winer, or a group exploring his new Fargo outliner.
I’m fascinated by this network of people meeting each other at courses, dispersing again, sometimes returning, using an ever changing array of tools to meet and eventually collaborate.