Fishbowl keynote dialogue at the Networked Learning Conference 2010 Aalborg, Denmark

At the Networked Learning Conference,  keynote speakers Dr. Etienne Wegner and Dr. Yrjö Engeström along with Dr. Chris Jones and Dr. Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld were setup in a fish bowl discussion format discussing about Expansive Learning and Knowedgeability in landscapes of practice (activity theories, networks, and communities of practice) and how their concepts impact Networked Learning as well as how knowledge representation is reified.

How was this fishbowl dialogue setup? Due to the globally represented audience, each keynote speaker first provided a typical stand up PowerPoint representation initially. English was the language of choice.  When they were done, they sat in a semi-circle format with extra chairs allotted for the audience.

  • Anyone from the audience was invited to take one of available chairs and participate in the dialogue
  • At specific times, another set of audience participants were invited to tap one of the individuals on the shoulder and they’d take their seats to provide their perspectives and continue the dialogue going
  • Keynote speakers were not tapped (their wisdom was the catalyst of the dialogue in the first place)

Topics discussed: Modulating knowledge, accountability of knowledge experts to the academic and practice worlds and following other experts, trust and collaboration across organizational boundaries (Engeström) , communities, arguments revolving around the fact that collaboration is not necessarily part of community of practice activities (Wegner), vocabulatory development in a community, collective care within the community of practice as a disease of a community rather than a fundamental characteristic (Wegner), expanding learning, legitimate peripheral participation, situated learning, problem-based learning v case method in business schools to make them more agile through the use of expansive learning method.

My insights from this experience:

  1. Continue learning from the experts by constantly updating my own expert list thereby expanding my own subject matter network
  2. Continue locating story telling opportunities in networks I’m part of, sharing my activities as they are enhanced by these interactions, and continue to actively participate in communities of practice as those interested and aligned with what I do will look at all these inputs to the various social learning technologies and knowledge creation media aggregately not independent of each medium.

My modification of this presentation format: Create AND use a backchannel (the conference provided a hashtag #NLC2010 and use Twitter but was not leveraged in this part of the session as a frontchannel though caveat here or at least a sidechannel-by having this run outside of the session but somewhere in the conference floor much like when sports events have a feed outside at the concession stand) The conversation, though fulsome and enlightening,  limits the knowledge creation from contributions of those participants who may not be comfortable standing up in front of 100s of people and start speaking directly with the keynote speakers. They too have valuable input to the knowledge creation process.

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