Disruptive Technologies

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

Tag: wenger

Reaction to Week 6 readings – Team Right Shark

Early on Wenger mentioned “We define who we are by the ways we experience ourselves through participation as well as by the ways we and others reify ourselves.” Far too often people say nobody affects who they are as a person. To which we would argue is not true. The way we define our identity has a lot to do with the world around us and how we react and respond to other people asserting their identity.
In the Wenger reading I got caught up in the way trajectory was defined. The world is more networked than it has ever been before, so it makes sense how we, as people identify become networked as well. Wenger suggests trajectory in not a fixed path nor is it a fixed destination but continuous motion. The former definition of trajectory falls more in line with past definitions of identity, static and rigid. Thinking about how you can have “multiple” identities thanks to the power of anonymity on the Internet a more fluid definition of identity works. A definition where you are not only identify with your physical characteristics, but also your interest, your thoughts, and the content you create.

An interesting part of Youth, Identity, and Digital Culture was the dichotomy between Giddens’s and Foucault’s views. The true nature of identity probably lies somewhere in between these two opposing philosophies. The individual is shaped by societal norms and constricted by society’s expectations, which can be both good and bad. Society deems what is acceptable behavior, which can act as a chilling effect on undesirable behavior but also any behavior at all that deviates from the norm. The Internet just accelerates this process by providing a more effective feedback loop.

Reflections on Wenger’s Community of Practice

Chapter 2 of Wenger’s book discusses “Community of Practice”.  As definition, a Community of Practice (CoP) is a learning partnership where people engage in such partnership and start creating a learning environment by sharing common interests and needs with a set of tools.  This correlates directly to one of the classes themes, Community, and certainly indirectly to the other two themes, Identity and Design.  Wenger, a Social Learning Theorist, discusses the different dimensions of practice that embody community of practice; mutual engagement (identity), a joint enterprise (identity, design), and a shared repertoire (design).

The author goes in detail about how a CoP gets created, what are the necessary components, ground rules, its resources, governance, etc.  Conditions, resources, and demands shape the practice.

A CoP does not necessarily need to be “healthy”, meaning,  there will be fighting, disconnects, arguments, but at the end, it will still be a community of different and diverse personalities, learning and sharing valuable content.

I found this not to be an easy read.  I complemented the reading with other articles from the web, as well as a few videos in YouTube.  Time permitting, I will read chapter 1, as there were a few references in chapter 2 to this chapter.

Here are a few examples of a CoP in the Higher Ed space:


The questions I’d like to pose;

  • Are there learning environments that lack a community of practice?
  • Are there non-learning environments where a community of practice is present?
  • Could the same have been said in a simpler manner?
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