August 16, 2005

Horizontal Collaboration

I’ve always been a big believer that technology must find a place in your personal life before you can really find a meaningful use in the classroom. Teachers, because of a variety of influences and pressures, have had a hard time implementing technology to the fullest in their classrooms. I’m guessing that those who have had the most success, also use it as part of their personal lives.

In my circles, Skype is really taking off as a viable option to long distance. I just got off the phone with a friend who just moved to the Czech Republic. He found out about Skype via my family blog and was amazed at the clarity of the conversation. He’ll be sharing this with his other friends and family. They’ll also started a blog and will allow them to stay even more connected.

As much as I lament the slow adoption by some educators, Thomas Friedman supplies some comforting words and insights:

Many of the ten flatteners have been around for years. But for full flattening effects to be felt, we needed not only the ten flatteners to converge but also something else. We needed the emergence of a large cadre of managers, innovators, business consultants, business schools, designers, IT specialists, CEOs and workers to get comfortable with, and develop, the sorts of horizontal collaboration and value-creation processes and habits that could take advantage of this new, flatter playing field.

How you collaborate horizontally and manage horizontally requires a totally new different set of skills.

So this problem of making the most of emerging technologies is common in many circles outside of education. As teachers begin to “collaborate horizontally” in their personal lives I’m confident this will move into the classroom.