We are beginning to explore the concept of “community” in the E-Learning 3.0 course. That word has long been one of those rather nebulous ones, which we as open learners in various platforms and spaces use as a default to suggest a gathering of people. I’m not all that sure it is the right term to be using.
Wikipedia defines “community” as:
A community is a small or large social unit that has something in common, such as norms, religion, values, or identity. Communities often share a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area or in virtual space through communication platforms.
So what is a network, then? (It’s a little trickier to find because there are many connotations for the word.)
A computer network, or data network, is a digital telecommunications network which allows nodes to share resources. In computer networks, computing devices exchange data with each other using connections ( data links ) between nodes.
And what about Affinity Space?
An affinity space is a place – virtual or physical – where informal learning takes place. According to James Paul Gee, affinity spaces are locations where groups of people are drawn together because of a shared, strong interest or engagement in a common activity.
I find myself using these terms rather interchangeably, even when I know I probably shouldn’t be doing so. Over the years, through my reading and learning, I feel like Gee’s concept of Affinity Space has best captured my ideas around connected learning practices across online platforms.
I bring this up because Stephen is challenging the folks in EL30 to create a “community” and then to become a member of that community. He has purposely made the whole assignment open-ended, with few details, and with little guidance from the “teacher.”
As a community, create an assignment the completion of which denotes being a member of the community. For the purposes of this task, there can only be one community. For each participant, your being a member of the community completes the task.
Huh. Ok. Let’s see where this might take us …
Roland has already started to bubble up an idea.
Firstly, I just want to eat all those vegetables. They are very inviting.
The thinking thing that stuck with me after reading your post is the quote of the task brief. It starts ‘AS A COMMUNITY’. Dang. We have to do the thing before we define the thing. I came up with a task, but you’ll see I got at least one aspect of it wrong from the start as I labelled it ‘My task’… not the community task. (I’ll go fix that now). I think the task is to come up with the task, not to do a thing. It’s in coming up with the thing that we do DO the thing.