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).


4 thoughts on “Collaboration

  1. Renee,

    You present some interesting points regarding collaboration and the progression of learning through technology and collaboration. Having available resources such as on line Libraries, learning modules and other students does seem to promote collaborative learning through the group process. The more we interact as fellow students, the more connected I feel to the group, and the more I wish to contribute. This reinforces Rheingold’s theory (2008) that individuals do want to work collaboratively and contribute to the success of the group.

    Rheingold, H. (2008, February). Howard Rheingold on collaboration [Video file]. Retrieved from:


  2. Renee,

    The modern workplace is rapidly changing and so is the corporate world. Companies are seeking innovative solutions to a thought-provoking economic atmosphere by trying different strategies to upsurge their productivity, perhaps engage workers and unquestionably encourage growth. A study by Lin, Wang and Kung (2015) looked at possible relationships among cross-functional collaboration, knowledge creation and Technology commercialization (TC) performance in reference to acquiring a competitive advantage. Lin and his group noted that knowledge creation plays an important role in TC performance by partially mediating the relationship between cross-functional collaboration and TC performance. I also often think about environmental sustainability as a global issue that need a global collaborative effort that no organization or government should ignore. I believe this what Rheingold (2008) referred to as a shift from survival for the fittest ( competition) to constructivist belief in which collaborative approach is the feature.

    Lin, Y., Wang, Y., & Kung, L. (2015). Influences of cross-functional collaboration and knowledge creation on technology commercialization: Evidence from high-tech industries. Industrial Marketing Management.

    Rheingold, H. (2008, February). Howard Rheingold on collaboration [Video file]. Retrieved from:

    Stewart, A. (1994). Constructivism and collaborative enterprises. Seized by Agreement, Swamped by Understanding. FellL, RussellD, StewartA (eds). Hawkesbury: Sydney, NSW, 67-89.


  3. Renee,
    Thank you for an interesting view on collaboration and communication. I agree that humans have the basic instincts to collaborate and communicate. As noted, Rheingold (2008) clarifies humans have lined mutually for many centuries whether in small hunting groups or when civilization first began with agriculture. I know I enjoy the interaction, for instance in group discussions whether positive or negative because of the different views that provide an abundance of knowledge. Gragg (2013) discusses how she enjoys interacting among her work group.
    Gragg, M. (2013, July 13). Do you believe that humans have a basic instinct to “interact and work as a group” [Blog post]. Retrieved from
    TED2005. (Producer). (2008). Howard Rheingold: The new power of collaboration. [Video file]. Retrieved from


  4. Of course your blog post made me think of the term “it takes a village” which is anonymous in origin as far I know. I love this topic of collaboration and the use of online resources. So many times I have wondered if I would have been better suited for another time in history. However for this topic, I know I am living in the right time. We have seen so much progress and there is more to come. Imagine just 20 years ago I did not have access to online documents stored in other systems like the Nurse Practice Act stored at the Board of Nursing. We have an incredible response rate now for finding articles and using search tools. I can not imagine how long it may have taken to complete a dissertation before the internet or before the online databases that we so freely search! On topic that I believe we will see more and more of is the open sourced education courses. The ability to strip away requirements and create open access is one that has been a long time coming and it seems to me to promote collaboration. Sancho & deVries (2013, p. 167) address open access in their article along with many other online learning tools and social media tools. Some of the terms they use to describe the open system of education access is “inspire, mobilise, facilitate and support”. These words bring to mind collaboration and they should spur us on to do the same around the globe. We are living in such an inspiring time for education! Tammy

    Sancho, T., & de Vries, F. (2013). Virtual learning environments, social media and MOOCs: key elements in the conceptualisation of new scenarios in higher education: EADTU conference 2013. Open Learning, 28(3), 166-170. doi:10.1080/02680513.2014.888000

    Link to the above article at:


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