I believe that humans have an innate sense of community. No matter how small the group may be, people tend to join with each other to engage in the socialization process. People will instinctively work together to aid another person and even an animal who is in distress. As the old song goes “No man is an island.” In Rheingold’s (2008) video, he briefly referenced the nomads in his discussion of the new power of collaboration and how the basic need of the nomads revolved around gathering and working in groups. The nomadic lifestyle is recognized as a constructivist way of life and encourages individuals to build on the experiences of other people, cultures, and countries. The way knowledge that is gained through the direct experiences of others in the nomadic environment is reminiscent of Dewey’s (1938/1997) perception of education as a socialization process which results from the interactions between the teacher and the student.
The term digital nomad has been coined to reflect a lifestyle that is devoid of location and time constraints as a direct result of the advances in technology (Makimoto, 2013). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) continues to decrease in cost and has become more accessible to the global population. With technology being integrated into the daily lives of many more people; the quality of life continues to improve globally. According to Egbert and Sanden (2014), the foundation of the constructivist mindset is grounded in the belief that reality is created through the interactions between people; and, is based on a reality that is subjective and contextualized. Technology can facilitate the collaboration among learners in myriad ways. There are collaborative document tools like SharePoint and GoogleDocs. These tools allow several people to work collectively and simultaneously on a document at the same time while at different locations if needed. Communication tools include email, Skype, and Twitter on the software side; and, tablets, laptops, and Smartphones on the hardware end. Facebook is a classic example of how ICTs can be used in the socialization process. And although the educational arena is slow when it comes to change, distance education has evolved from asynchronous correspondence courses in the mid-nineteenth century to a platform that includes both asynchronous and synchronous connections (Anderson & Simpson, 2012).
In 2013, Forbes magazine reported that there were seven billion cell phone subscriptions in the world (Worstall, 2013). The number seven billion also reflects the estimated number of people in the world at that time. A case study that was conducted in rural areas in South Africa exploited the use of smartphones as a viable tool to teach nurses in economically depressed and remote parts of the country (Pimmer, et al., 2014). The affordance of the cell phone was the primary criterion that enabled the creation of multiple hubs that served as learning communities and knowledge resources for the nurses. The cell phones proved to be ideal for the creation of virtual and informal learning settings that enabled low and middle-income communities to connect to learners and learning centers that are distributed around the globe. And, this is evidence of the “new power of collaboration” (Rheingold, 2008).