When it comes to groups working together, I’m a fan of Malcolm Knowles. Knowles recognised the value of time invested in the development of thinking.
While teachers promote the importance of ‘digital literacy’, they often fail to acknowledge the lack of autonomy that teachers provide children in their learning – and the almost unlimited ability children have out of school to develop their thinking and independence – not least though games and multiplayer worlds.
The challenge seems to be that many institutions spend vast amounts of time being authoritarian and trying to control people. Ironically, responsibility for the results of this no longer rests with the organisation (or its managers), but passed to the individual (teacher and student). It’s a weird waterfall effect. At the same time, the more liberal views of how schools should work and how teachers should teach have been widely disseminated to the public. More open, more collaborative, fewer rules, more freedom. The worst incarnations of this suggest technology is the mechanism for this.
Schools are not places for corporate refugees to try Toyota management tactics, nor a place to experiment with ideas which can’t be scrutinised and verified. However, we’ve had almost 70 years of academics promoting the value of autonomy, collaboration and developmental thinking. None of them said wait for Microsoft or Google to make an app for that.