Researching collaboration, contributions welcome

I am exploring the possibilities offered by networked media for communication and collaboration, investigating models, platforms and tools that can foster greater understanding and increased connection between groups and individuals. I intend this to have a positive impact at several levels: in the communities themselves, in the understanding they develop and in the model/s that this provides.

Ultimately I am interested in facilitating the development and spread of systemic, progressive ideas / models that can co-exist with and challenge dominant ideologies and myths and the common sense of 'public opinion'. Related to this I will use ideas from Gramsci, Barthes, Latour and others.

As a theoretical background I am researching relevant ideas about learning and communities. I will particularly apply ideas about constructivist / Vygotskyian and social constructionist approaches as used by Laurillard, Bruckman, Resnick and others. These emphasise how knowledge is constructed and how this is enhanced when we are engaged in the construction of external products and when this is done collaboratively.

I will also explore ideas about emergence, chaos and complex systems and networked media and how these relate to communication and society. It is argued that current and increasing changes mean that we are experiencing a paradigm shift and need to develop different ways of thinking in response. This is elaborated in different ways by Rheingold, Krippendorf and others and also is implied by many current discussions.

Particularly significant will be how we think about knowledge and I will especially investigate challenges to dominant ideas such as that of Intellectual Property from open source / FLOSS movements and P2P etc.

I am investigating the role that technology can play in this and especially at the ways in which metaphors, interfaces and representations can influence the mental model users have of interaction. I will explore (from Krippendorff and others) the ways in which factors such as this influence how we behave within a system by affecting the feedback available and also how we view ourselves in relation to the system.

I will apply the principle of developing a ‘tool and result’ (from Lev Vygotsky) and explore how to maintain congruency between the layers involved in a system, from the technical through to the social and cultural.

I will pay particular attention to the possibilities for change (especially epistemological) to occur within complex systems and the impact that different ways of categorising / representing information can have on this.

In relation to this I will continue to explore how we develop and use subjective mental models (also referred to by other terms such as constructs). For example I will continue to research ways in which we make distinctions, form concepts and modelling principles that can be applied. To do this I will use ideas and models from Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and particularly from the theoretical background to NLP such as Cybernetics.

I will particularly apply ideas such as those of Gregory Bateson and others about ‘levels of learning’, digital and analogue communication, ‘second order’ understanding, feedback, autopoiesis and systemic thinking.

Practically, I aim to participate in the development of communities that learn, share and explore ideas and to investigate ways of sharing, organising and representing information that can foster this development.

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