Stewarding Technology for Communities On Learn08


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Slides from a video conference presentation on Technology Stewardship, November 2008

Published in: Technology, Sports
  • Slide 36:
    Things look different in different types of communities. This is a support community.

    Slide 37:
    In a more networked setting, again, things show up slightly differently.

    Slide 38:
    As a community stewards its technologies, It can look to both addressing the three inherent polarities and the community orientations. This gives a way to assess, describe and act in the service of the community.

    Slide 39:
    In some ways it is ancient. Yet there is something new. Technology has fundamentally expanded what it means to be together as a community. Community development is influenced by technology and technology influences community. Non technologists are shaping tools.

    Slide 40:
    Tech stewards have been doing this every since a community adopted a tool. But the work and its practices are becoming more important. Much of this good practice is invisible. There’s no place or way of talking about it and sharing the practices. So we’re telling stories about technology stewardship. We need more conversations among stewards and between stewards, technologists, designers, developers and other community leaders.  It’s a fertile place for innovation, and a way to tangibly improve how we can work in groups of all forms.

    Slide 41:

    Here’s the quote in full: 'It is when people stop thinking of something as a piece of technology that the thing starts to have its biggest impact. Wheels, wells, books, spectacles were all once wonders of the world; now they are everywhere, and we can't live without them. The internet hasn't quite got to that point, but it is getting there.' - The Guardian Nov 4 2006,,1940641,00.html?g...

    Image from Flickr CC thanks to Mr Magoo ICU 
    Add your co

    Slide 42:
    Our work started in the nest of communities of practice, but we have already seen the applicability of the frameworks we are developing in other types of communities: teams, groups and networks. As we test these ideas in real settings, we’re finding resonance for this community perspective on technology.

    Photo credit:

    Slide 43:
    Interested in more? Keep in touch with Etienne, John and me via the book blog on my blog at the ridiculous URL on your screen . Tag resources technologystewardship on your favorite tagging engine. Tell me a story about your technology stewardship. Or, ask me later.

    Photo credit:

    All photos from Flickr are photos with Creative Commons licenses. Thanks to Beth Kanter, Etienne Wenger, John Smith, and Bev Trayner for their input.
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  • Slide 30:
    A tech steward may be called upon to make sense of all the offerings of the market, scanning and selecting for her community. They start paying attention to working with the tensions between the individual and the group, synch and asynch group, interacting and publishing.

    Image credit: Wenger, White and Smith

    Slide 31:
    As we looked at a variety of communities of practice in our book research, we noticed that there activities that showed up in many communities. Not all of them in every community, but some were more important than others for each community.

    Slide 32:
    We grouped these into 9 general patterns of activities that characterized a community’s orientation. Most had a mix, but some were more prominent in every case. I’ll walk us through each profile and give some examples. We moved to looking at the types of activities communities did to be together and what tools supported them. We started noticing patterns of how this was happening, facilitated by people who were paying particular attention to tools and activities on behalf of their communities. They were the keystone to the complexity we saw.

    Image: Wenger, White and Smith, 2007

    Slide 33:
    Orientations help us define what tools we need to support the activities associated with that orientation(s). Here is an example of the implications of a community that is meeting oriented.

    Slide 34:
    We can use the activity circle as the basis for a spider graph and evaluate the groups we are working with. I’ll give a few examples. We can use this spidergraph to inform both our process and our technology designs in a learning setting.

    Slide 35:
    As an example, let’s look at a distributed online course that uses blogs as the primary technology. Let’s look at how the tensions show up, the activities show up.
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  • Slide 23:
    Technology creates “community time” that defies schedules and time zones, and “communal spaces” that do not depend on physical location. One obvious appeal of technology is its variety of solutions for dealing with time and space to achieve continuity and togetherness: to hold a meeting at a distance, to converse across time zones, to make a recording of a teleconference available, to include people who cannot be physically present, to send a request or a file, or to be up-to-date on an interesting project. In a community version of “time shifting” and even “space shifting,” togetherness happens in a variety of formats that enable participation “anytime, anywhere.”
    Practice issues: Community profiles as patterns of togetherness. How do we learn best. Respect the time of each member. Front or back channel, what problems to bring to the whole group.

    Slide 24:
    Members of a community of practice need to interact with each other as well as produce and share artifacts such as documents, tools, and links to resources. Sharing artifacts without interacting can inhibit the ability to negotiate the meaning of what is being shared. Interacting without producing artifacts can limit the extent and impact of learning. Indeed, the theory of communities of practice views learning together as involving the interplay of two fundamental processes of meaning making: Members engage directly in activities, interactions, conversations, reflections, and other forms of personal participation in the learning of the community; members produce physical and conceptual artifacts—words, tools, concepts, methods, stories, documents, and other forms of reification—that reflect their shared experience and around which they organize their participation. (Literally, reification means “making into an object.”) Meaningful learning in a community requires both processes to be present. Sometimes one may dominate the other. They may not always be complementary to each other. The challenge of this polarity is how successfully communities cycle between the two.
    (A bunch of the text around polarities is from 'Digital Habitats: Stewarding technology for communities'

    Slide 25:
    Technology provides so many new ways to interact and publish while supporting the interplay of participation and reification that it can profoundly change the experience of learning together. Technology enables new kinds of interactions, activities, and access to other people. It also provides new ways to produce, share, and organize the results of being together – through documents, media files, and other artifacts. Most important, it affords new ways to combine participation and reification. For instance, by providing a web-based whiteboard for a conversation, we are supporting new forms of co-authorship where we casually mix words, images and sounds with each other . Technology also pushes the boundaries of both interacting and publishing for a community. It makes it easier for the work of a community to be opened up to the larger world. It can allow a community to decide whether to publish artifacts and invite comments publicly or to hold them within the private boundaries of the community.

    Slide 26:
    Examples of publishing and interacting (or participation and reification.)

    Slide 27:
    Individuals and groups. Togetherness is a property of communities but individual members experience it in their own ways. A crucial point about learning within communities of practice is that being together does not imply, require, or produce homogeneity. Togetherness is a complex state that weaves communal and individual engagement, aspirations, and identities. Technology provides new opportunities for togetherness, but togetherness can lead to disagreement and the discovery that people see the world (including technology) very differently. Members use the technology individually, on their own. Some social trends contribute to the tension inherent in this polarity: Increasingly, individuals are not members of only one community; they are participants in a substantial number of communities, teams, and networks—active in some, less so in others. Communities cannot expect to have the full attention of their members nor can they assume that all their members have the same levels of commitment and activity, the same learning aspirations, and therefore the same needs. Conversely, members must deal with the increasing volume and complexity of their “multi-membership” in different communities. They have to find meaningful participation in all these relationships while preserving a sense of their own identity across contexts.
    Slide 28:
    One role of technology is to help manage the complexities of community life and individual participation. Technology can make the community visible in new ways through directories, maps of member locations, participation statistics, and graphic representations of the health of the community. It can provide tools for individuals to filter information to fit their needs, to locate others, to find connections, to know when and where important activities are taking place, and to gather the news feeds from their various communities in one place. In fact, multi-membership is becoming so prevalent that tools to manage the group/individual polarity are becoming an increasingly central contribution of technology.

    Slide 29:
    Sliders – as we think about how we pick, design and deploy technology, what sort of intentionality do we want with respect to these tensions? More importantly, how do we use them as ways to track our community’s health, make adjustments in both technology and practice.
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  • Slide 18:

    We have more ways of “being together” as we cross national, professional, and linguistic borders.  Our communities have become network like. Globalization. Our CoPs are no longer just products of our workplaces or associations. They are ours. And we have influence on our tools.

    Photo credit:

    Slide 19:

    Technology stewardship is not a solo gig, but by, of and for the community. It is about that balance between control and emergence, between 'self-organizing' and 'organizing on behalf of others.' It balances the wisdom of the group, with the reality of getting things done.

    Photo credit:

    Slide 20:

    On the practical side, we’ll explore a few 'rules of thumb' and  strategies for thoughtfully considering how we focus on technology stewardship in a Web 2.0 world from a community perspective.
    Uploaded on February 2, 2006 by ang (3 Girls & a Boy)

    Slide 21:
    The idea of polarities that show up in group interactions. Tensions that we can learn to creatively leverage, rather than trying to resolve. Because resolution is usually impossible! Nor is it desirable. It is about noticing where a community is and what it needs at that moment along a polarity, and using tools and processes to move them to that desired point at that moment in time.

    Slide 22:
    The elements of time and space present a challenge for communities. Forming a community requires more than one transient conversation or having the same job title in completely different settings. The kind of learning that communities of practice strive for requires a sustained process of mutual engagement, and if mutual engagement is the key to learning, separation in time and space can make community difficult. How can a community sustain an experience of togetherness across the boundaries of time and space? How can members experience togetherness through shared activities if they cannot be together face-to-face? How can the togetherness of a few members (a small meeting, a conversation) become an experience the whole community shares?
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  • Great slide show, Nancy. thanks.
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  • Technology has fundamentally changed what it means to “be together.” In the digital age, there is a new set of practices and roles to support this “being together” – we call this technology stewardship. In the next 20 minutes (over videoconference) I’ll be sharing some ideas with you at the 2008 OnLearning Technologies Conference in Australia with me in Seattle.
  • Stewarding Technology for Communities On Learn08

    1. 1. Stewarding technology for communities OnLearning Technologies Conference 2008 Nancy White Full Circle Associates
    2. 3. Tech + Social: Technology has fundamentally changed how we can be together
    3. 4. Learning Communities Knowledge Networks Communities of Practice Online Communities
    4. 5. Many: Networks We: Communities Me: the Individual Personal identity, interest & trajectory Bounded membership; group identity, shared interest Boundaryless; fuzzy, intersecting interests
    5. 6. Emerging roles and practices…
    6. 7. enable people to… <ul><li>discover & appropriate useful technology </li></ul><ul><li>be in and use communities & networks (people) </li></ul><ul><li>express their identity </li></ul><ul><li>find and create content </li></ul><ul><li>usefully participate </li></ul>
    7. 8. <ul><li>community leaders </li></ul><ul><li>technology stewards </li></ul><ul><li>network weavers </li></ul>
    8. 9. What the %&*# is a technology steward? Nancy White Full Circle Associates
    9. 10. “ Technology stewards are people with enough experience of the workings of a community to understand its technology needs, and enough experience with technology to take leadership in addressing those needs…
    10. 11. Stewardship typically includes selecting and configuring technology, as well as supporting its use in the practice of the community.” Wenger, White and Smith, 2007
    11. 12.
    12. 13. 15% solution <ul><li>Noticing and using the influence, discretion and power individuals have right now . </li></ul><ul><li> – Keith McCandless </li></ul>
    13. 14.
    14. 15.
    15. 17.
    16. 18.
    17. 19.
    18. 20. rules of thumb
    19. 21. Polarities
    21. 23. community time community space shifting engagement….
    24. 26. Vocabularies, tools, concepts, methods, stories, papers, pictures, reports… Conversing, experimenting, practicing, learning, planning…
    26. 28. Designed for groups, experienced as individuals Does not imply homogeneity Multimembership Attention
    27. 29. Togetherness Separateness Interacting Publishing Individual Group
    28. 30. addressing inherent community tensions Group Individual Interacting Publishing asynchronous synchronous discussion boards teleconference chat instant messaging member directory wiki blog telephony/ VoIP individual profile page e-mail e-mail lists scratch pad RSS “ new” indicators subscription podcast content repository presence indicator buddy list security Q&A systems RSS aggregator newsletter calendar videoconference application sharing whiteboard site index participation statistics search subgroups personalization community public page version control document management UseNet content rating scheduling polling commenting networking tools tagging bookmarking shared filtering geomapping interest filter 2007 Etienne Wenger, Nancy White and John Smith
    29. 31. Orientations
    30. 32. Orientations Community activities oriented to … … meetings … context … community cultivation … access to expertise … projects … open-ended conversation … content publishing … individual participation … relationships © 2006 Wenger, White, and Smith
    31. 34. … meetings … access to expertise … context … community cultivation … projects … open-ended conversation … content publishing … individual participation … relationships © 2006 Wenger, White, and Smith Community activities oriented to … Course
    32. 35. Learner’s Blog Learner’s Blog Learner’s Blog Learner’s Blog Learner’s Blog Learner’s Blog Learner’s Blog Learner’s Blog Learner’s Blog Learner’s Blog Learner’s Blog Learner’s Blog Central Blog External Reader External Reader RSS FEED Reader Reader Reader Reader Reader Reader Reader Reader Reader Reader Reader Reader External Reader Roster Syllabus Schedule Course
    33. 36. Support Community … meetings … access to expertise … context … community cultivation … projects … open-ended conversation … content publishing … individual participation … relationships © 2006 Wenger, White, and Smith Community activities oriented to …
    34. 37. … meetings … access to expertise … context … community cultivation … projects … open-ended conversation … content publishing … individual participation … relationships © 2006 Wenger, White, and Smith Community activities oriented to … Edubloggers’ network
    35. 38. Community activities oriented to … … meetings … context … community cultivation … access to expertise … projects … open-ended conversation … content publishing … individual participation … relationships © 2007 Wenger, White, and Smith No image skills Existing relationships Basis for evaluation - motivated Diverse skills/ motivation New to web meetings
    36. 39. So what?
    37. 40. Yes, this is a blank slide. You know… invisibility!
    38. 41. /
    39. 42.
    40. 43. Tag: technologystewardship
    41. 44. Epilogue Slides: will be posted on (choconancy) Other stuff: Contact Nancy White nancyw at fullcirc dot com