Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Keynote 1: Group Genius

Presentation: Group Genius - The Creative Power of Collaboration
Presenter: Keith Sawyer, PhD Professor of Psychology and Education, Washington University.

Also created Food Fight and Magician for Atari.

This is probably one I need. Wendy, the lone ranger. Doesn't always play well with others.....
Needing to be reminded that it can be beneficial to do so.....

Guildcast link.

Learning for innovation.

Shift from agricultural to industrial to knowledge to Innovation economy (last 5-6 years)

Become more important since 2004 (Business Week article).
Creativity and Innovation is the keyword for success today.

Tapping America's Potential - July 2005.
Innovate America - Council on Competitiveness (2005)
Task Force on American Innovation
Rising Above the Gathering Storm - Congresional Report

In US, we have to be more creative. We are choosing to do so by learning.

Recommendations of reports
- Better K-12 education
- Increased higher education quality and funding
- Increased R&D funding
- Intellectual property protection and tax credits

Missing - an undertanding of how innovation works. How people learn for creativity, How to redesign learning environment.

1 designer = 9 months to develop 1 video game (1983-1984).
Left video game industry - 1984

2002 - graphics so much more sophisticated (esp. when used to the old stuff, like me). Kingdom of Hearts - like immersive learning simulation. Requires so many more people (over 200) to develop this than vs. 1984. Not counting all of the "little people"

Days where 1 person can work on a product is gone.

Creative economy based on teamwork and collaboration and organizational dynamics.

Transformation from lone genius to group genius.

Improvisational theater - example of a group that is built to create and innovate.

What makes super creative groups tick? Related to core business success.
- Gore (GoreTex) - "most innovative company in America" (Wired).
+ Each associate is supposed to dedicate 10% to unallocated project (own stuff).
+ Can work on items that may not work for the original intent. Open to new ideas for things you are working on. (from a failed puppet control cable to an excellent guitar string)
+ Open to bringing in other engineers and share their 10% of time if the others think it's a cool idea. Team emerged spontaneously.
+ Took finished idea to senior management (had a prototype).

Teams emerge spontaneously. Cultural norms encourage this development.

Knowledge and Learning for the Innovation Age
- Instructionism. Old model. Doesn't align well with how professionals learn.
+ Knowledge static facts and procedures
+ Goal is to get facts and procedures into heads.
+ Educators transmit facts and procedures.
+ Simple first, then build to complex
+ Assess how many facts and procedures acquired.

- Innovative Knowledge
+ Deep understanding of complex concepts
+ Ability to work in teams (Innovation collaborative)
+ Ability to manipulate concepts creatively
+ Integrated and contextualized knowledge
+ Ability to innovate collaboratively

- Learning for Creativity
+ Build on prior knowledge
+ Encourage reflection on learning process (DURING the learning)
+ Carefully scaffold authentic situated practice. Supports and structures that allow learner to figure it out in real-world situation.
+ Combine inquiry and project based activities with some amount of information delivery (gotta get it somehow).
+ Foster learning in collaborative groups. Learning as isolated individuals - how do you expect them to learn it as a team?

Vision taking shape
- World of Warcraft - Immersive Learning Simulation. Why excited by MMOs - they are collaborative. You have to work with others (strangers).
+ Games can successfully create creative learning environments. Intrinsically motivating.
+ Challenge - how to take from "video game" to serious, work-oriented education.

- Class sessions now common in Second Life. Linden Lab now has resources for educators (SimTeach)
+ Now a Second Life best practices in Education conference (May 2007)

- Computer supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), Use internet and network to bring together learners.
+Belvedere - argument support system (example).

- Wireless Handhelds
+ Mostly in co-located areas. PDAs, cells, etc. Can interact with each other. Teacher can see all of the handhelds and which teams have formed (not have name of this technology).
+ Facilitating teachers, can drill-down to a device.
+ Can also do this in distributed, virtual environment.
+ Don't have to be at desk.

4 challenges for eLearining
- technology by itself does not necessarily change anything. (Why is your teacher avatar lecturing at your student avatars).

1) Identify a good problem or design challenge
- Feasible - learners can do the problem
- Worthwhile - problem contains deep content that relates to what they do
- Contextualized - real-world, non-trivial
- Meaningful - interesting and exciting for learners.
- Issue - do Instructional Designers or learners develop the problem? In practice - instructional designer. What should happen - learners (better assessment?).

Shift from 1 right answer, right answer discussion to Open-ended. Open ended problems more effective with exploratory discussion and force interaction.

2) Support active learning
- Learners have difficulty
+ Identifying relative data
+ Analyzing and integrating data
+ Develop and articulate explanations
+ Justify decisions
+ Defending decisions using appropriate criteria and evidence
- You have to give tools and pointers to help overcome those difficulties. Can't do for them.

3) Fostering effective collaboration
- Collaboration only works when learners
+ Ask each other conceptual, probing questions.
+ Detailed, elaborate explanantions
+ Share thinking while solving problem. Not just end.

4) Support creation of shared artifacts and effective critiques
- Activity must reflect what actually learned.
- Physical models, reports, drawings (computers very good at this)
- Collaboration facilitated if mediated by unfolding artifact.
- Artifact allow assessment of PROCESS, not just final PRODUCT

How do we get there?
- Monopoly - best selling board game ever.
+ Official - unemployed radiator salesman developed it (Charles Darrow). Reading book on student flunking out of college prep and had to go to vocational school. In vocational school - exercise in trading stocks. Decides story makes a game. Made a game out of it.
+ Real story - Henry George (1879 economist - Progress and Poverty). Single Tax movement - remove all income tax, tax only land in proportion to how much land you own. His idea lived on in Quaker community - VA woman Lizzie Magens(?) built and patented idea (different names on board). Took to Parker Brothers, rejected. Caught on in Quaker community - they would build own version and use common household objects (buttons, thimbles, etc). Each person would change board and localize names. Charles Darrow played this with friend. Obtained new patent (fradulently) and gave to Parkers Brothers.

- Key points
+ We associate innovation with individual genius. But almost always a story of complex organizational dynamics (open-source, old-school style).
+ Lots of dead ends. After the fact - seems pre-ordained. But always some ideas that are introduced and fade.
+ Represents the contribution of lots of people giving single, small sparks that add up incrementally to big idea.

The innovation process is a constant combination of many small ideas.
Each idea builds on one before - incrementally.
Innovation process accelerated in collaborative teams and when ideas shared across teams and organizations.

We need to move from instructionism to Innovation. Lone genius to group genius.

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