Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Complicated Fun and Flow

Just reading and commenting on Howard Rheingolds blog SmartMobs.
He is outlining the procedure that he and his group are using to set up the Social Media Classroom project. He describes the planning process as "complicated fun".

I like that attitude!!

It really fits with my experience working with social networking tools, which I find amazingly absorbing. Trying to figure out how this tool works, how to make a comment on that wiki, how to create a podcast, videocast, concept map, how to add value to a discussion, how to understand what the heck is going on in some web based social networks, all this is very satisfying to me. Sure, I'll call it fun. Adult play!!

When thinking about motivation in learning I always seem to get back to a concept put forward by U of Chicago Psychologist , Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi.

I cut and pasted the following from the Wikipedia entry.

"Csíkszentmihályi outlines his theory that people are most happy when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great freedom, enjoyment, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored"

I get a real buzz from reading, thinking, reflecting especially using web based technology and connecting with the web-based collective intelligence that is emerging all around us. Humans have a natural desire to create, contribute, collaborate, cooperate. As Shirky points out modern ICT lets us do that with an ease that we have never known.

I snort a bit when some of my acquaintances talk about American Idol.I don't get it but, each to their, own as the saying goes. It is a bit concerning to discover that more people vote in American Idol than in their local political processes. The American Idol folks have figured out something important about social engagement and they are making a fortune at it.

Anybody got a really good theory that explains that and how we better can leverage it for the larger social good as well as private commercial success?

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