Disruptive Technologies

Course site for Disruptive Technologies. Exploring identity, community, & design.

Tag: Community

Bittersweet, Like an Apple Removed from My Heart

So guess what? This is it. It’s a bittersweet moment as I sit here typing out my final blog post. I had so many goals and aspirations to achieve this semester and reached some while never thinking twice about some others. Then there are the goals that I achieved without intending to. You may be wondering what some of those goals are, but I’ve decided to not tell you. If you’re reading this, then let me tell you that you have been blessed with a magnificent brain that can come up with ideas that I could never dream of—don’t let me hold you back.


There is one thing that I learned this semester that I really think you should keep in mind. It’s all about people.

All of this. School, technology, families, the postal service, all of our communities, everything. Don’t take people for granted, but in turn, don’t take yourself for granted either. You’ve fought half the battle by just taking the moment to read this. It proves that you not only want to, but can do it. If you’re having this read to you, guess what, you still can.


After school special aside, this has been a great semester. It’s one of the first courses where I felt like whatever I put in I got in return. I definitely appreciated that it was taught and attended by university administrators–not to have an outlet to vent, but it was encouraging to see that the people behind so many emails care about improving the school and are motivated to do it with students in mind.

As you should know by now if you’ve been keeping up with this blog and course, we had iPads all semester. Needless to say that all my plots to keep mine have been thwarted by that nifty ID number on the back. Oh well. I must say that I don’t know if this semester could have been possible without them. They established a baseline technology that we could implement in whichever ways we saw fit to be successful in school. I frequently caught myself panicking if I left my iPad at home (moreso than if I left my phone). It has been everything this semester–never leaving my side. It took some getting used to, but wasn’t unbearable, and since it was new, it forced me to begin thinking out of the box in general. In essence, it was disruptive. Knowing that I would be giving the iPad back, I can speak honestly and say that I failed and didn’t push it as far as I could. As a broke college kid, I refused to spend money on it. If I had brought my own, or purchased it in the beginning, I think my selection of apps and utilities would have been much more in depth (would have had an external keyboard too). Do I think iPads should be implemented in education? Definitely. Will something new need to be added eventually? Definitely. Is that okay and natural? Definitely.


I bid you adieu, and may the dreams of a back button forever rest with you, my dear Future People.

Technically Yours,


Closing Remarks Chris W.

This class has been a great experience. Coming into this class I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Honestly, I enrolled in the class because I heard we’d get to use an iPad for a semester. While the iPad was nice, I’d say the best thing about this class were the excellent discussion we had in class and how fluid the syllabus was. This class has really opened my eyes to the subtle complexities of community development and really helped me define who I am as a person. The guest we had in class pushed me to do what I want in life (which is to work in the gaming industry). The last section, Design, helped me take a new approach to the creative process that I will definitely use later on in life.

This class has shown me a few apps that I really enjoyed using. In no particular order SwiftKey, Adaptxt, Evernote, and POP.

Adaptxt: If you want swept functionality on your iOS device I would definitely recommend this app. The user interface is clean and is very responsive.
SwiftKey: This is another third party keyboard that has the swipe functionality. From my experience sometimes the keyboard wouldn’t appear and you’d have to tap on the lobe icon more than once. Otherwise it is a great app to use.

Evernote: This app is a powerhouse! From presentations to website layouts Evernote can do it all!

POP: In the design section of the course both teams used this to make the layout of our apps which were our a part of our Final Synthesis.

Lastly, the iPad was really useful this entire semester. Slowly substituted paper with the iPad and it became an integral part of my day to day. This device is useful beyond belief and after this semester is over I will seriously consider buying one for myself.

Cheers to a great semester!

Listen Up, Can Anyone Hear Us?

To prepare for Thursday’s synthesis presentations, those of us that like to be Too Disruptive would like for you to do two things. First, take a look at Sam Richards’s Ted Talk,  “A Radical Experiment in Empathy.”

Then, we would like for you to take a brief, semi-anonymous quiz. Especially since this is such a small class, we hope that everyone gets a chance to take the quiz (even Cole). Also, please do so no later than Thursday at noon so we will have time to compile the results.

Click here to take the brief quiz, Making ‘My’ Way Downtown

Thoughts On Identity – Chris

My name is Chris and these are my thoughts.

I made this video using only the iPad and iMovie. It took my a little longer then I’d like to admit to figure out how to split video clips but once I figured it out it was easy. I have used iMovie on my Macbook Pro, so the software is not foreign to me but as seen above creating what I consider great content is a challenge. In hindsight I should have used the case as a stand and recorded from a desk. It was a fun experience regardless.

Synthesis – Community – Team Right Shark

Chris Takes A Trip On the Cluetrain

21. Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor.

  • If you as an organization take yourself too seriously, you suck up all the fun of work. Why do something if you cannot enjoy it and why take out the fun when you can put fun in?

22. Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.

  • This goes hand in hand with 21. Putting up a front is the last thing you want to do. People can see through phony masks of humor.

68. The inflated self-important jargon you sling around —in the press, at your conferences —what’s that got to do with us?

  • If people cannot understand what you are doing as a company, it would be difficult for new people to get into what you are doing as a company.

Work and fun should go hand-in-hand and if you are not having fun at work, make your own fun!

COMMUNITY according to Too Disruptive

A group of individuals bound by some commonalities including but not limited to geography, status, interest, gender, goals, philosophy, profession, identity, activities, ETC…


Jay Loomis – Ants, Wenger, & Communities of Practice

In the writings on communities of practice by Etienne Wenger, there were several specific characteristics that the author described that caught my attention. To start, he made a point of defining his terms: community and practice. He specified that for his purposes these ideas need to be considered has a whole: communities of practice. One of the most important defining characteristics is that these groups of people are bound together, not only by having a common goal, but also through the collaborative actions that individuals in the group undertake to achieve that goal.

The author explains three elements of a community of practice: mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and common repertoire. An important aspect of “mutual engagement” is that members are not required to have similar skill sets or backgrounds; in fact, diversity is valuable and can help a community of practice to achieve their objectives. “Joint enterprise” refers to the collaboration that takes place and the accountability that is a necessary part of this system. The “shared repertoire” refers to shared expectations and experiences that accumulate from the group; after spending time acting together as a team, they know what to expect and have common references related to their objectives that help them to act effectively.

A community of practice can be described as a purposeful, intentional group of people who act together to achieve common objectives, with a variety of individual perspectives on how to approach problem solving situations.

As I read these articles by Wenger, I was thinking about some examples of this type of effective community action in nature: ants. There are many examples of the extraordinary feats that ant communities can achieve, from creating huge underground colonies, to creating the paths through perilous jungle terrain, to their singular focus on providing for and caring for their queen. For this reading on communities of practice, I found the following YouTube video of ants creating a bridge to be especially informative while thinking about effective collaboration as a community of practice.

My questions relate to the section where Wenger talks about the need to cultivate communities of practice. What are some specific ways that administrations or managers in hierarchical institutions can encourage this semi-informal yet effective style of team work? What is it about this type of collaboration that sometimes makes managers uncomfortable? What changes in perspective need to take place in hierarchical systems to help managers embrace this style of collaboration?

Fast forward to about 2:20 to see the moment when the gap is bridged.

If Wenger Were a K-Cup

This week’s reading, Wenger, “Community” from Communities of Practice, is, as many of my colleagues have already pointed out, a fairly hefty article. It took a bit longer for me to read which I believe is partially due to the fact that I attempted to only read on the iPad, and I do not currently know how to highlight or whatnot like during my usual note taking.

This is the second chapter of his book, and Wenger often references chapter one. It might have been helpful to have that knowledge, but wasn’t entirely essential. To my own understanding,

Wenger describes a community of practice on a few different levels. I best equate each of these levels (or at times it could be better understood as a concept or other similar thought-model/pattern) with my job.

I work in Academic and Transfer Advising Services at Stony Brook University. We handle academic advising for all transfer students and continuing students after their freshman year. Take for instance, this picture:



At my work, our practice is helping students academically through transfer articulation and advising. We have decided to come together to develop this practice. We have formed a “process” which is reflected in the Red-Covered binder. It has all of the policies and regulations. “Jackie’s Posting Guide” represents each employee’s own contribution to these practices: We all have a specialty. We come from different backgrounds with different experience.

This “contribution” is not only expressed via policies, but also through simple “water cooler conversation.” In our case, it is the office Keurig! Employees talk relationships, the weather, general gossip; they laugh and cry together; parties are celebrated together. Each of these contribute to the overall atmosphere of the community.

Wenger was also adamant to point out that communities of practice are not limited to a particular office, building, or even country. To represent this, I opened Google Hangouts on my iPad Air. Although you cannot see the name, it is actually a colleague that I have done much work with via Hangouts.

If you have read Wenger’s chapter, you may notice that I chose to not use much of his terminology. Frankly, I found it to be a bit excessive. Of course, I plan on delving into this matter further, but I believe that these things can be said much more simply than his terms: Mutual Engagement, Joint Enterprise, and Shared Repertoire.


I am curious to know other “simple” examples of this idea. I’m sure that it can be used in education, and I think that MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are possibly heading toward this idea of a “shared” repertory of knowledge. However, I wonder how classrooms can more immediately begin to transition to this style of learning. I personally enjoy Wenger’s thoughts and believe that it is indeed part of what can help the education system.

Question is…is there a middle ground between MOOCs and the classroom? CDT 450 seems to be on the right track, but are there other possible ways? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What are your ideas?

Technically Yours,




Week 2 Chris

This week’s reading was on Wenger’s study of Communities of Practice. Based on what I read I saw Communities of Practice as a shared space where members of this shared space participate in the exchange of knowledge and creation of new ideas based on individual problems. A Community of Practice is made of 3 parts mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire.

Mutual engagement is an obvious requirement. If the members of the community do not sign that unwritten contract to interact with one another a community cannot be built. I would describe joint enterprise as the synergy  of the members. I read shared repertoire as the culture of the community.

I watched this video to help me understand Community of Practice more and one thing I found really interesting was Wenger did not define wikis, blogs, or forums as Communities of Practice just merely tools. When I just started wrapping my head around Communities of Practice, I instantly thought of wikis, blogs, and forums.

I am a part of a group at my university called Computer User Digital Development Learning Environment or CUDDLE. During our CUDDLE sessions students of many different educational backgrounds come to collaborate on ideas and help each other out on personal projects. Based on the definition I understood from the reading, CUDDLE can be called a Community of Practice.
Some questions I have after reading up on Community of Practice are:

  1. At what point does a Community of Practice become more beneficial than traditional classes?
  2. Would MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) be considered a Community if Practice?
  3. Are there different types of Communities of Practice?

Kicking off the Themes

Next week we will kick off the exploration of our first theme, community. I’ve decided not to rotate through the three themes week to week and instead pause and spend three weeks on each theme. That will allow us to deep dive a little more and will give me a chance to give you some more dedicated readings and activities. Looking forward to seeing you and I am really looking forward to reading your posts!

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