Thursday, July 2, 2009

Resonance in the Echo Chamber my Final thoughts on NECC '09

On of the very legitimate and accurate criticisms of developing online communities is that rather than being global and diverse they actually become rather homogenous. NECC emphasized that for me. This phenomenon is know as the Echo Chamber effect. We tend to connect with people online who echo our own perceptions and beliefs, we tend to seek validation. I prefer the term resonance and you will see why in a bit.

Resonance occurs when any object is vibrated at a frequency that matches the properties of that object. It is this trait that allows us to resonate water molecules with microwaves and to break wine glasses with sound. A dramatic example of resonance occurs when you put salt, rice, sugar or sand over a speaker:

Resonance allows for natural grouping. NECC is a conference full of other teachers who also are adopters of technology. Very validating! And very valuable!!! We need the validation and to find better ways of doing what we are doing!

The reason I prefer the term resonance is because I also am a firm proponent of dissonance. Cognitive dissonance must happen for people to feel compelled to understand. We want so badly to make learning comfortable, relaxed and warm that we fail to realize that unless we are confronted with the very real possibility that we are wrong we don't bother to consider new information. If you notice in the video the rice goes through stages. Periods where the whole is thrown into chaos. We need this. The pattterns can't emerge if the pattern is left undisturbed.

I loved this conference because it resonated with me. I also need some dissonance. Something to shake me up to make me reconsider. Something that will allow new patterns to develop.

Thanks NECC 09

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