The power of collaborative tools has been a recurring concept in MACT. In Shirky preaches to it in Here Comes Everyone, Bruns illustrates his concepts of “produsage”, and now Benkler provides further examples of peer collaboration in The Wealth of Nations.
Benkler introduces various examples of peer production, like open-source software development and Wikipedia, but illuminates the scale of these ventures. Not only do these processes for peer production actually result in a deliverable, but they are deliverables that compete with business enterprise products.
Benkler creates a contrast between these two paradigms, a managed business approach versus an open peer collaboration approach. Like Shirky, Benkler points out that this collaboration is not because of the tool themselves (which reduce transactional costs), but also asocial drivers and differing motivations that result in collective and incremental production of a comparable-quality products.
Thus, Benkler and Shirky allude to a shift towards collaboration and the characteristics and attitudes that support it.
This made me reflect on a YouTube video I had with audio from Sir Ken Robinson about changing education paradigms. In it, he argues that our current educational system comes from a design intended to support an industrial age model that focuses on technical and practical skills, as opposed to creativity and innovation. While this presentation focused on shifting teaching paradigms, it echoes towards our situation will collaboration.
As the market is showing the success of these collaborations using network tools, has our curriculum also adapted to this new paradigm? It’s not only the technical skills required to use these tools, but the functional skills to work on collaborative projects. In what ways are preparing our future workforce for this?
Does education need to prepare us to use and understand these tools for peer production and sharing?