A dichotomy like this one about groups vs networks is a way of speech. Both words ‘group’ and ‘network’ are abstract images of non-physical entities. A dichotomy like this separates what is not really physically separable. But it explains.
Networks offer a path that isn’t the individual and isn’t the group.
A group is a collection of entities or members according to their nature or their feature or their properties or their nature. What defines a group is the quality the members possess in common and then the number of members in that group.
Groups require coordination. They require a leadership or a leader which is why we get all of this stuff on leadership. People think about groups and leadership and direction and responsibility and they usually mean “my leadership, my direction, responsibility to me.”
A group is defined by its values. groups define standards. groups define belonging.
Groups are defined by their unity. In fact, one of the first things you do in a group is you try to maintain its unity. Without that sameness, you don’t have the group. You have anarchy.
A network is an association of entities or members where this association is facilitated or created by a set of connections between those entities.
And a network is like an ecosystem where there is no requirement that all the entities be the same, where the nature of the entity isn’t specifically relevant, where the number of entities isn’t specifically relevant.
And the question is, can we have order, responsibility, identity, all of that good stuff, inside an ecosystem? [Do groups have a monopoly on values? In a network conversation values will emerge also. Stephen Downes gives an example of network values, or rules]
A network thrives on diversity. It wouldn’t be a network without diversity.
Network technology that includes diversity, encourages diversity, talking, telephoning, writing letters, personal emails. That what defines networks is the set of connections between the individuals and not the content of what’s going out.
Internet technology that encourages diversity rather than conformity includes things like personal home pages or these days, blogs.
Tim Berners-Lee contends that the danger of social networking sites is that most are silos and do not allow users to port data from one site to another. He also cautions against social networks that grow too big and become a monopoly as this tends to limit innovation.
Talking about assessment. I want testing to be done by at random by comments from your peers and other people and strangers based on no criteria whatsoever and applied unequally and unfairly. [Assessment is not any more just measure what you did learn. Now its is “Learn this, because in the assessment will be questions on this”, assessment is guiding teaching now.] Downes The offering of standardized tests, far from fostering learning (and its worth noting that no amount of evidence on this front has swayed adherents even slightly), is intended to foster groups, group identity, and sameness – sameness of curriculum, sameness of the educational experience
Downes: So where is that dividing line? Where functional and healthy …groups… becomes dysfunctional, obviously. Somewhere between (most) football teams and the Symbionese Liberation Army. Somewhere between family bonding and wiping out your neighbours with machetes.
Downes: …. To put it most simply, groups are based on passion while networks are based on reason.
See blog discovery through elearning on thoughts on groups. : a social group is any number of people who share common goals and norms. A true group exhibits some degree of social cohesion and is more than a simple collection or aggregate of individuals, such as people waiting at a bus stop.
Nice thoughts on groups blogpost of with interesting question. The network of cck11 members as I see it is not a group. Because a social group is any number of people who share common goals and norms. A true group exhibits some degree of social cohesion and is more than a simple collection or aggregate of individuals, such as people waiting at a bus stop.Social cohesion is low, common goals are nearly absent, every member has goals and some of them share goals. <a href=”https://connectiv.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/group-and-network-cck11/”>my blogpost on groups</a>. The definition of a group is a citation from <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_group”>Wikipedia</a>. Of course sociologists do not agree on the definition. Steven Downes has a different definition as he adds leadership to the qualities of a group