I listened to the NECC keynote this evening on The Wisdom of Crowds thinking about those I work with collaboratively for projects and professional development.
So here are some scribbles:
rough quote: if you can have a group that is working well together, you can broaden the range of possibilities of what that group can achieve.
working well means that you have
- diverse groups – not just sociological diversity; cognitive diversity – how they approach decisions and problems – add slower learners adds knowledge to the group because they have a different way of approaching the problem, which makes the group attack the problem in a different way than if everyone in the group approached it from the same perspective – they to actually be diverse in their opinions, not just assigned “devil’s advocates”
- independence – people who will say what they really think
- plus other things you can read about online her
Homogeneous groups – the more they talk the dumber they get. This is often called “group think.” It creates an echo chamber where everyone says the same thing. It’s harder for the group to see where they are wrong. It happens on blogs and online discussion groups.
Some questions while I listened….
- How is this different from mob mentality? to get wisdom you need the diverse thinking and the courage to share diverse thinking
- How is this concept based on research? it’s experiments etc. It sort of sounds like practical application of statistics and probability, but I wonder also is it just probabilities?
While I listened, I also googled “wisdom of crowds critique” and this was my favorite critique of what I skimmed….
Conclusions: interesting concept, not enough specific application to education to really hold our attention. But I realized that when I’m in groups that start heading towards group think, it’s important to get a different perspective in quick!! I can think of a few friends who are really good at bringing in that different perspective!