Monday, July 4, 2011



Do you believe that humans have a basic instinct to “interact and work as a group,” as Rheingold proposed in his discussion of the evolution of Wikipedia as a collectively developed encyclopedia?

Yes, I do.  This instinct can be taken back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Boeree, 2006).  We have a basic innate longing to not be alone and have someone to connect with or to simply feel a part of something.  Eggen and Kauchak (pg. 282) distinctly provides an example of children playing together and one of them discovering a bug, a bee to be exact.  However, one of the boys said that the insect was a bug, when in fact, the other boy recognized it as a bee (Eggen & Kauchak, 2004).  Children play together and learn from each other as did these boys.  Collaboration or learning together or from each other is a part of social cognitive development (Driscoll, 2005).

How can technology facilitate collaboration among learners based on constructivist principles?

Varied technologies are used as mediums for collaboration.  Wikis and blogs are two of the most widely used tech facilitators of collaboration for education, business, and social purposes.  The constructivists theory promotes social constructivism.  Vygotsky argued that “groups of learners co-construct more powerful understanding than individuals can do alone” (Eggen and Kauchak, 2005. p. 298).  Creating forums for group facilitation by using technologies like discussion board, wikis, and blogs creates the environment for an effective collaborative activity.  However, collaborative learning can be done face to face in the absence of technology facilitation (Machin, Harding, & Derbyshire, 2009).  In any collaborative approach, diversity is a variable.  Diversity can serve as a wonderful catalyst to motivate students to dig deeper into self and search for more outside resources to help them further understand the content being presented.  Diversified representations of knowledge can also cultivate new perspectives and promote higher order thinking (Machin, Harding, & Derbyshire, 2009).


Boeree, C. G. (2006). Abraham Maslow. Retrieved from

Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. (2004). Educational psychology: Windows on classroom. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Machin, A. I., Harding, A., & Derbyshire, J. (2009). Enhancing the student experience through effective collaboration: A case study. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 15(2), 145-159.


  1. Great post. I particularly like your inclusion of Maslow's Hierarchy as a reference point. There was a theory postulated by Johan Huizinga in the early 20th Century centering on the importance of play in human evolution and development. "Homo ludens" suggests that play is instrumental to who we are, and more importantly, social play is almost innate. Your post made me think of the theory, so I thought I would share.

  2. Roxanne,
    I agree with your post. Like you said, I think we have a need to interact and collaborate. I mentioned something similar in my own post. I like that you mentioned wikis and blogs too (how could we ever forget about those!). I also agree with your statement about diversity. I think that the more diverse the people we interact with, the more we can actually learn from others and their experiences.

  3. Roxanne, I agree that collaboration can be beneficial because students can learn from one another, but I disagree with it being instinctual. How do you explain the children that prefer to play alone or to learn from reading and working alone. I think that the majority of people find learning through collaboration to be preferred, but not all people.