Technology-powered Collaboration is Essential for Success

One of my favorite sources of interesting and thought-provoking information is Big Think.  It’s a great site.  You’ll find a whole host of topics.  Here are a few titles to give you an idea of the diversity:  “How Mandela Leveraged the Power of Storytelling”, “Leverage Social Networks for Good”, and “The Web and Enemy of Creativity?”.  Information is presented via video (interviews, talks, etc.) and text with the opportunity to comment and discuss with others.  I subscribe to the Idea Feed which sends me frequent emails showcasing feature stories.       

I came across a very interesting article titled “Technology Will Make Collaboration Your Next Competitive Advantage” that discussed the way companies leverage technology tools to promote collaboration.  The general premise being that having a culture of collaboration coupled with the right technology tools leads businesses to greater productivity, creativity/innovation, enhanced service, performance, etc.  The article points out that since people are used to collaborating, to extending their network, via social media tools in their personal life, it only makes sense that such practices should be welcomed and encouraged in their professional world, too.  Essentially, businesses need to adopt a culture of collaboration and the tools to support it.  This quote sums it up very nicely, “Tools merely offer the potential for collaboration,” argues Evan Rosen, a leading thinker in this field. “Unlocking the value of tools happens only when an organization fits tools into collaborative culture and processes. If the culture is hierarchical and internally competitive, it will take more than tools to shift the culture.”

While the article is focused on businesses, the ideas apply nicely to schools.  Does your school support a culture of collaboration on a teacher level but also on a student level?  And, how does technology support or magnify the power of collaboration?  Do your students understand the power of technology as tools to collaborate, produce, and expand knowledge and skills and use them in such a way?  We certainly know that students understand the power of technology to connect socially… but can we do more to help them take ‘connecting’ to ‘collaborating’?