I was particularly interested in Erik’s second presentation where he described how his students are required to comment on each other’s blogs – to be ‘open’, ‘to share’. His approach is – ‘if you can’t /won’t agree to this, then don’t sign up for my course. Evidently, this is what learning in times of abundance means. But not for me 🙂
Erik also referred us to Dean Shareski’s video from his keynote presentation ‘Sharing: The Moral Imperative’
That word ‘moral’ made my ears prick up and I have to say my hackles rise. I hate being lectured about morality and I long ago decided that ‘duty’ is a word that I do not wish to include in my vocabulary – at least not in reference to my own actions. If I am going to do something it has to be because I believe it to be the right thing to do – not from a sense of duty which could be misplaced.
Despite this – there is lots about Dean’s video that is inspiring on quite a few fronts – but not all 🙂
His starting point is that he personally is a giant derivative of his network – because each and every one of his network embraces a culture of sharing, he benefits. Well – yes, I can see how much I have benefited from the open sharing of others, but at times I have also been ‘led up the garden path’ as we say in the UK.
He then goes on to say that the entire premise on which education is built is sharing and that if there is no sharing there is no education – not learning please note, but education – and he appears to equate education with teaching and vice versa – so I wonder where is learning positioned in this.
According to Dean a sharing culture begs the questions:
- Is it safe
- Is it worthwhile
- Is it valuable/meaningful
- Is it an obligation
… we need also to consider who, where and how we share – which all seems reasonable.
According to one speaker on the video – sharing (online) can mean that the time spent on developing a resource is more cost efficient because it is shared with numerous people on the net. That seems fair enough if you have bought into the sharing mantra.
According to another, sharing means that we can share in people’s experiences and lives, people who we would not meet face-to face. That also seems fair enough, although whether you want to it a different matter.
Alan Levine has shared ‘Amazing Stories of Openness’ – http://cogdogblog.com/stuff/opened09/
My response to all this and to Erik Duval is that this is great for those who wish to do it.
What about those who are introverts?
What about those who wish to protect their privacy (I wonder what Jabiz’ 4 year old daughter Kaia will say, when she is old enough to understand, about her father taking the decision to share her life with the world when she was not old enough to question it)? (see Dean’s video)
What about learner autonomy?
What about those who wish to resist the power and control of educators/teachers who exert a tyranny of participation?
What about those who do not wish to live their lives in a fish bowl (thanks to vhaustudent for this image)?
I for one reject the obligation to share (not sharing itself, but the obligation to share), the obligation to help others, the idea that I owe it to others , that it is an ethical responsibility.
If I do share in any way it is not because of a moral imperative, but simply because I believe that is the right thing to do at that particular time in that particular context – i.e. as I have mentioned before I am ‘selfish’ in my sharing – https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/the-selfish-blogger-syndrome/ and I strongly believe that people have the right to resist comments like ‘sharing is a moral imperative’ or ‘lurking = taking’ and work out for themselves, without being subjected to power influences or controls what sharing means to them.