Thursday, April 5, 2012

Module 3

“Survival of the Fittest” describes the old human mentality according to Howard Rheingold (2008). As I ponder on this, I question whether or not this is still the current human mentality. Rheingold (2008) believes that over time, the human mentality has evolved to one that has lessened in competiveness to make room for cooperation and collaboration. While I agree that 21st century problems, require collaborative-based 21st century solutions, I still believe that the “destroy competition” mentality overpowers the willingness to cooperate in some cases.

Professional Learning Communities are being established in today’s schools in an effort to increase uniformity and collaboration across the board. However, the fact that there are still teachers who cling to the concept of working in isolation leads me to believe that people do not necessarily have a natural inclination to interact and work in groups. For whatever reasons, there are some people who are naturally inclined to work alone. Even those who prefer collaborative work, tend to evaluate their work load as an individual rather than as a member of a larger community. For example, when my boss sends us emails of a list of task he wants completed, considering how “I” will meet all the deadlines is one of the first things I consider. After further processing the assigned tasks, I may consider how a colleague and I can collaborate to get the task done and make efficient use of our time as a cooperative team. But, my initial thoughts were of the course of actions “I” would take to get the tasks done. This is just an example to further elucidate the natural inclination we have to work in isolation in lieu of collaboration.

As I had previously mentioned, I consider collaboration to be effective since it takes multiple perspectives and varying levels of expertise into account. Collaboration enables people to complete task in a more proficient and time efficient manner. One technological resource that I recently used (for the first time) to engage in collaborative work was Google Docs. For my EDUC 7105 course, the members of my learning community took a constructivist approach (2005) to collaborating as we all provided input in responding to 5 questions about our selected learning theory. Rather than each of us simply selecting a question to answer, we all constructed a cohesive and agreed upon response to all 5 questions. We all played a part in the editing and revising for each question included in the table. Utilizing technology in such a manner definitely breaks down the tendency to work in isolation since the productivity of team work is made prevalent.

To read more about the positive effects that collaboration has on learning, please go to the following website:


Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education Inc.

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


  1. Tawana,

    I am also in EDUC 7105 and use the collaboration tool google doca. When our group got together to discuss our collaboration project, our first inclination was to divide the work up and each of us answer a question. We then looked at the criteria for working collaboratively and worked together on each question. Editing and revising as we went along. It seems that even while trying to work collaboratively we were first inclined to work independently. If members of a group are not in agreement, it can take longer rather than shorter time to accomplish a goal. That may be one reason that people tend to want to work in isolation. I enjoyed your post.


  2. Greetings Tracy!

    Our group did the exact same thing. So when I found out that what we were doing was cooperation, rather than collaboration I begin to feel overwhelmed by the thought of creating a document with a group of individuals. However, I have been very blessed and fortunate to have a very professional group of people in my group. Through hard work and willingness to "meet each other in the middle," our collaborative work truly reflects the thoughts an efforts of all participants. This experience has actually added to my appreciation of group work. Thanks for your feedback.