Where is everyone?

While I admit to being quickly on board most things (except the iPad, that is... that's a tool for my 65-year-old Mom) I'm disheartened by the slow pick up of online learning networks (via Twitter, Ning, Facebook, etc) by my colleagues. We're a 1:1 school and the faculty are pretty comfortable with technology -- but I see very few of them (well, okay, maybe 3 out of 100) that are actively engaged online. Is it really just an issue of time, given that independent school teachers have a very long academic & athletics day followed by the same prep time all teachers require? Are they unaware of the benefits of connecting and collaborating online? Or does that beg the question?

Conway's Law

I ran across this a few weeks ago; now I've got some time to put some thoughts down:

Conway's Law
...organizations which design systems (in the broad sense used here) are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations. Link

Now, this isn't a law like Murphys; it actually has some basis in research. Conway was talking about computer systems but it seems to be applicable to larger systems. What ramifications does this law have for educational change? Given that communication in most schools is (strictly) hierarchical, moving down from above, are we caught in a design loop that will only reinforce a teaching environment that is predominately lecture based, even if it's online? Although we've been a 1:1 environment for ten years, most of us are still teacher-centric, eyes-forward in the classroom. Is Christensen (from Disrupting Class) right in that we have to start new schools rather than try to change existing schools from within?

But I like the cookie...

One of Seth Godin's recent blog posts (The Reality of Digital Content - lose the cookie, lose the fortune) has been reverberating in my mind over the past week.
What happens when the people with great ideas start organizing for themselves, start leading online tribes, start creating micro products and seminars and interactions that people are actually willing to pay for? ...

I have the challenge of working on the Editorial Panel for an academic journal -- while I enjoy the reading and editing of articles and the community of professionals that surround the journal, I've found the process of acceptance, publication, distribution and commentary to be out of date. My greatest fear is that, as Godin mentions, the journal will be rendered irrelevant in an environment of PLNs (through blogs, twitter, nings, webinars, etc) developed spontaneously by teachers who see a need, share ideas and engage in deep discussion of pedagogy, content and technology. But, in order to remain tight control over their content, they are reluctant to open their journal fully to the web and the chance to allow their readership to contribute without the organization's filter. Hopefully time and new members of the Editorial Panel arriving in June will help to encourage them to take a great leap forward.