Reading Review and Journal (for February 24th)

02/22/2009

1. Topic for your final Paper

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How Google is making us brilliant; how Google, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other tools like these will allow us all to achieve higher collective intelligence on several layers and at several axes.

2. Thesis for your final paper. It is the central idea you would like to present in your final paper. The more specific the better. Please make sure to demonstrate how your thesis is related to the Internet and digital media convergence concepts, theories, or models we have covered in our class.

Google provides an interface to a growing collection of collective knowledge, which with proper training, can be tapped efficiently to help solve any problem that has been previously solved and shared. Twitter allows you to ask the world a question, and get 1,000 answers in an instant. Facebook allows for us all to interconnect on a visual verbal basis, actively or passively, allowing for a more comprehensive look at each other’s (constructed) profiles and provides a way to grasp deeper socio-emotional connections with others. Blogs allow us to quickly produce our own pieces of collective intelligence, feeding Google all the while, providing new fodder for Facebook and Twitter, and generally increasing the amount of known published knowledge with each post.

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3. Two articles (academic or professional) that you would like to use in your paper.

Ivana Marenzi, Elena Demidova, & Wolfgang Nejdl. (2008, June 30). DSpace at Open Universiteit Nederland: LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning. DSpace at Open Universiteit Nederland: LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://dspace.learningnetworks.org/handle/1820/1260?mode=full&submit_simple=Show+full+item+record.

L. Johnson, A. Levine, & R. Smith. (n.d.). 2009 Horizon Report. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://wp.nmc.org/horizon2009/.

Readwriteweb, S. P. (2009, January 30). How to Friend Mom, Dad, and the Boss on Facebook…Safely. The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/external/readwriteweb/2009/01/30/30readwriteweb-how_to_friend_mom_dad_and_the.html?em.

Stone, B., & Stelter, B. (2009, February 19). Facebook Withdraws Changes in Data Use. The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2009, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/19/technology/internet/19facebook.html?_r=1&em.

4. Brief summary of the two articles.

LearnWeb 2.0. Integrating Social Software for Lifelong Learning provides a theoretical framework that focuses on the sublime ability for social networks and technology services to enhance learning. This article brings to light some of the ways in which social networks can be particularly utilized in supporting and enhancing teaching and learning. This is in stark contrast to the idea promoted in “Is Google Making us Stupid?”

The 2009 Horizon Report is a yearly prediction of the ways in which current and emerging technologies will affect teaching, learning, and society in general. It is a strikingly accurate and thoroughly enjoyable read for a technologist who has faith in the ways in which technology can help us change for the better.

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The two New York Times articles focus on Facebook. One describes best practices for information sharing for the new user, how to avoid the pitfalls of sharing the wrong information or sharing it in the wrong way. The other article speaks about the recent flap in which Facebook changed its terms of service (TOS) to indicate that the content that users add to the system belonged solely to the company forever. A blog post on The Consumerist brought the change light and public scrutiny, and Facebook quickly reverted to its previous TOS language. This speaks to the concepts of collective intelligence, bottom up media vs. top down media, information ownership, and others that help define Digital media convergence.

5. Brief discussion about how the two articles are related to your thesis.

The LearnWeb 2.0 article shows a framework that could potentially exemplify my thesis that learning is enhanced and magnified with the proper application of Social networking tools.

The 2009 Horizon Report defines a long list of technologies and the ways in which they will theoretically affect learning spaces, learners, teaching, distance learning, mobile learners, portable media in learning, and other aspects of gathering and gaining intelligence.

An example of a social network diagram.
Image via Wikipedia

The two New York Times articles on Facebook will help to bring to light issues regarding the broad increase in information sharing and the relevant importance of guiding new users to use the systems properly. It also helps to show the blurry line that exists between producer, consumer, content owner, intellectual property owner, and privacy in the shared online space.

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Journal Entry: Mediation Chapter 3

06/07/2008

Chapter 3 in Mediation is about the process itself, and talks about some of the best practices (characteristics) in terms of what is necessary for successful (constructive) mediation in theory (p. 46). The 5 characteristics of  constructive mediation are a safe environment, where disputants feel comfortable taking part in the process of mediation (pp. 53-55), collaborative communication, where the communication between disputants is reframed from a win/lose perspective to a we win perspective (pp. 47-48), power management where disputants are empowered to speak and participate in mediation as equals no matter what their rank role, or place outside of mediation (pp. 48-50), process management, by which mediation allows each person to feel respect, have a voice, and get a chance to participate in a fair way through the process itself (pp. 50-53), and finally face management, where hurtful or questionable statements are kept from going uncorrected so that disputants do not feel as though they’ve lost something just be being part of the narrative process (pp. 55-61).
Towards the end of this chapter, there is an exercise that asks us to “select one of the five characteristics of constructive mediation. Share positive or negative examples of this characteristic from your own lives and careers. Select one of these incidents and prepare two skits for the class, one in which the participants fail to achieve the characteristic, and one on which they do achieve it.” (p. 61) I’ll perform part of this exercise below.

Domenici, K., Domenici-Littlejohn, & Littlejohn, S. W. (2001). Mediation: Empowerment in Conflict Management, Second Edition (2nd ed., p. 198). Waveland Press.

Personal experiential influence:
I select power management and face management. Some positive examples of power management in my own life have been where I have been in a meeting with other people of differing levels of organizational hierarchy, from vice presidents down to coordinators, in which a difficult issue was being discussed, but also in which each person was allowed their full honest say in the matter, without interruption (for the most part) or pulling rank in order to snuff an idea that might be part of the solution. In terms of face management, if someone in one of these situations wanted to gently correct what I had to say, they did it in such a way as to first reinforce the accurate parts of what I had to say, and then use creative phrasing to quietly modify my statement in restatement form.
On the other hand I’ve been in many more meetings where I was carefully reminded that when I speak, I must be careful to remember that I do not speak for everyone, and that I should not state my opinion in such a way as to indicate that my view is the view of all. In one situation I remember clearly, the discussion was about ways that my organization could achieve something as a group in order to boost morale. I have had many conversations a with others in the organization who have said that the last thing they need is an award or a pizza party in order to feel that they are doing a great job, but rather a set of goals that can be clearly and markedly achieved, which might make us feel better inside. I might have said something during the discussion like “Due to conversations I’ve had, I feel that many of the people here feel that the point is not to win something that goes up on a wall, but rather to win something that we can feel proud of from the inside out.” I might have said this in a more diplomatic way, such as “I feel that intrinsic rewards are more important than extrinsic rewards” but regardless, because someone hierarchically higher than me disagreed with my statement, I was quickly stopped from continuing with it, with the statement that what I said was a clear example of what was wrong withour communication style in the organization, and that I should not speak as though I represent the other members of the organization. There’s some truth on both sides.

Journal Entry: Mediation Chapter 2

06/03/2008

In this chapter, Mediation as a process is described and introduced, much in the same way we do in a very abridged way in the beginning of a mediation session. The ideal role of the mediator as facilitator, empowerer, and face manager (not judge) is described. The benefits of mediation, including convenience, effectiveness, preventative nature, relationship preservation and redefinition, and confidentiality are discussed, if in a somewhat biased way. The types of mediation are also discussed. At the end of the chapter there is an interesting exercise which asks us the look at one definition of mediation, and to dismantle it in order to see what aspects of the process are lost when those definitive elements are removed.

Domenici, K., Domenici-Littlejohn, & Littlejohn, S. W. (2001). Mediation: Empowerment in Conflict Management, Second Edition. (2nd), 198. Waveland Press.

Personal experiential influence:

Mediation: A confidential, voluntary process where a neutral third party facilitates negotiation between two or more parties with mutually acceptable agreement as one possible outcome (Domenici, et al., 1991, p. 43).

Without confidentiality, mediation could be embarrassing, fear generating, or hurtful to disputants.
Without being voluntary, mediation generated agreements might be less likely to hold.
Without neutrality, the mediator could have a powerful influence on outcomes they themselves want.
Without facilitation, mediation could degrade into chaotic name calling.
Without all parties present, mediation could reinforce barriers between disputants.
Without mutually acceptable agreements, they will be less likely to be actually agreed to by all parties.
With mandated agreements, disputants might be unwilling to accept outcomes.