Posts Tagged ‘self-organizing’
How is it possible that volunteers from all over the world, who might never see each other in real life and who have different backgrounds and interests, are able to create complex software? This question remained in my mind throughout this research.
Research shows that people who participate in open source communities frequently do so because they enjoy sharing their knowledge and they hope to learn from the knowledge they receive from others. Together participants are able to achieve great things: they develop software programs that are surprisingly reliable and used by many individuals, corporations and governmental organizations worldwide. One of the most important lessons I learned from talking to the many open source developers and enthusiasts is that you cannot write a complex software program without the help of others. These other people should not be confined to software programmers with similar skills and interests. On the contrary you need people who have different software development skills and even people who lack such skills altogether. Each performs a part in the quest to together improve the quality of the software.
The Internet is a global socio-technological system that is based on a technological structure consisting of networked computer networks that works with the help of the TCP/IP protocol and stores objectified human knowledge, human actors permanently re-create this global knowledge storage mechanism by producing new informational content, communicating in the system, and consuming existing informational content in the system; the technological infrastructure enables and constrains human communication. The Internet consists of both a technological infrastructure and communicating human actors. Together these two parts form a socio-technological system, the technological structure functions as a structural mass medium that produces and reproduces networked communicative actions and is itself produced and reproduced by communicative actions. The technical structure is medium and outcome of human agency, it enables and constrains human activity and thinking and is the result of productive social communication processes. Important qualities that are connected with the Internet as a socio-technological system are Open Source, Virtual Reality, globalization, and many-to-many dialogue. Tradtional mass media have been based on one-to-many-communication, whereas the Internet is based on many-to-many-communication. Hence the Internet has a large intrinisc democractic potential. In the terminology of Vilém Flusser it can be said that it could support a shift from discursive media society to dialogic media society.
Sugata Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University, England, and a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Professor Mitra works in the areas of cognitive science, information science and educational technology, and he has a keen interest in engineering and software development. This is an excerpt from his new e-book, Beyond the Hole in the Wall: Discover the Power of Self-Organized Learning.
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