So. At the end of Bernie Dodge’s Birds-of-a-Feather session yesterday, the woman in front of me turns, leans over the back of her chair, and asks, "What’s this wiki thing, anyway?"

Fair enough. We talked a bit about wikis as collaborative online writing spaces. She thought about that for a bit; then, with a look of consternation, wondered, "Why would I want people getting into my stuff?"

After a full conference day listening to myriad conversations about Web 2.0, School 2.0, 21st century learning, and new learning paradigms of sharing and collaboration, her question was a stunner. But also a good, provocative question asked in the voice of the devil’s advocate, one that isn’t about the technology at all. Why in the world would she be interested in using a wiki if she doesn’t fundamentally value collaboration? If you have a closed-door policy, Web 2.0 represents an invasion of privacy, not a glowing opportunity.

The response to her question has to be to build a case for the value of collaboration—and collaboration as a value. To my mind, this is the real theme of NECC, this year’s big thing, the leitmotif underlying all the conversation about education policy, integration, school change, creative commons, etc. Our work and learning exists in a common context. We remix, adapt, and create.

Bernie Dodge’s QuestGarden includes a check-box allowing WebQuest creators to grant permission for others to use and adapt their WebQuest. The permission statement starts like this: "We all benefit by being generous with our work."

That’s it in a nutshell. So. . . any ideas for how to make the case?

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