Today we had our first class of sixty unbelievably energized grad students and one brave undergrad in Gov 3.0 @ NYU.
We got them out of their seats to meet one another and "speed date for social change" to the end of forming blogging communities. Cosmo and Laura asked everyone to make one name tag with three topics about which they are passionate and another with three skills they have. Then they took over the hallway and lobby outside the classroom to find complementary partners with whom to start blogs and "learn out loud" during the course of the semester. #Education and #Climate were popular destinations as was #IT and #Collaboration. Over the course of the next few days, students will self-organize into groups.
While this ice breaker was largely designed to find blogmates so that the responsibility of launching a blog on "innovation and X" won't be so onerous and students can learn from one another, it was also an exercise in learning about what's involved in building a network of collaborators. It's hard enough face to face in the classroom and that much harder? or easier? to do with strangers online.
Afterwards we talked about Newtown. I was frankly surprised that their response to my question about what's transpired since Newtown was to talk positively about social media stimulating a national conversation on gun control. No one expressed the outrage I feel about the anemic legislative response. Where, instead, are the collective intelligence platforms to develop good ideas for solving the problem of guns and school safety? Or the collaboration initiatives to crowdsource volunteer labor to protect schools for example? We are so conditioned to today's institutions that we are content to sit back and wait for the compromise-ridden, politicized process to play itself outself.
Let's see what we can teach ourselves this term about ways to tap social media networks and turn their energy into reliable ways of working together.
We're going to have a lot of fun exploring the opportunities and limits for collective intelligence and collaboration in this course.
We will run a twitter backchannel in an out of class under #gov30.
Unforunately, the chairs in our classroom are nailed to the floor in a lecture format, which didn't lend itself to collaboration. We are in search of a Pop Up Learning Space.