collective intelligence

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Planet 2.0 meets the USA

This has been a quiet blogging week due to FLACSO México‘s visit to the University of Minnesota. The visit has been very busy, and highly productive.

This morning, Education Futures contributor Dr. Cristóbal Cobo (read his blog) presented his ideas at a University of Minnesota’s Institute for New Media Studies and Digital Technology Center research breakfast on his new book, Planet Web 2.0: Collective Intelligence or Fast Food Media (English translation). The event was also webcast by the University’s Supercomputing Institute. (A link to the recorded video will be posted when it becomes available.)


A debate followed the presentation on the roles and values of online technologies. Most puzzling for academicians in the audience was how might reconcile the need for producing peer-reviewed, “academic” publications with freely available, open material. Whereas a journal article might solicit a handful of readers, an open document might bring in thousands more (for example, Planet 2.0, which was issued under a Creative Commons license, has already registered over 61,000 downloads in the first few weeks since its release). Our promotion and tenure process, however, recognizes only publications that appear in traditional print media. Why?

At the end of the event, Dr. Cobo was approached regarding an open sourced effort toward translating the book from Spanish to English by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies. Planeta 2.0 approaches…!

2007 State of the Future report released

sof2007.jpgJerome Glenn, director of the United Nations-affiliated Millennium Project, announced the release of the 2007 State of the Future report. According to the project’s press release, “the 2007 version adds a futurist look at the possibilities for education and improving collective intelligence by 2030.”


This year’s addition, a study requested and supported by the Republic of Korea, explores possibilities for learning and education by 2030. Compiled by more than 200 participants, suggestions include greater use of individualized education, just-in-time knowledge and learning, use of simulations, improved individual nutrition, finding ways to keep adult brains healthier, E-Teaching, and integrated life-long learning systems.

Although the report, itself, is short, the accompanying CD contains a detailed compendium of all previous years’ research into global futures, with some projections stretching into thousands of years into the future.

Planet Web 2.0

Cristóbal Cobo writes that his book, co-authored with Hugo Pardo, “Planeta Web 2.0, ¿Inteligencia colectiva o medios fast food?” (Planet Web 2.0: Collective intelligence or fast food?) is available for download under a Creative Commons license. In this volume, Cobo and Pardo reflect on whether the Web 2.0 trend is a creative phase, based on collective intelligence, or if the phenomena is simply another manifestation of fast food culture –or, if the trend is characteristic of a new evolutionary stage.

Cobo will discuss his book at an event sponsored by the Institute for New Media Studies at the University of Minnesota on October 3. I’ll post more details when they emerge…

Introducing Cristobal Cobo, guest blogger

Dr. Cristóbal Cobo, professor and director of communications at FLACSO-México is joining Education Futures over the next week or so as a guest blogger. He is no stranger to blogging, and is the author of e-rgonomic, which explores human-web interactions.

Cristóbal studied his Ph.D. in the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona. In addition he has been teacher of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey and Universidad de Colima. In Flacso he manages projects related to innovation, distance education and knowledge management supported in the information and communications technologies. Recently, he’s been researching knowledge, “collective intelligence,” the “architecture of participation,” and the phenomenon of “wisdom of crowds” and its application in the learning environment.

A question on linking open courseware to faculties

The Online Education Database published their list of “Top 100 open courseware projects.” This list demonstrates that there is a lot of content available, encompassing in the fields of agriculture, arts, architecture, archeology, audio & video, biology, botany, chemistry, civil engineering, economics, electronic engineering, general engineering, Earth sciences, geography & geology, history, languages & linguistics, law, literature, mechanical engineering, paleontology, physics, political Science, psychology, and the social sciences.

Quality among open courses vary significantly, and most open courseware do not plug into the Web 2.0 “wisdom of crowds” that can enhance quality and provide avenues for new knowledge production. Furthermore, most faculty distance themselves from online publishing and knowledge dissemination. Even worse, few faculty (at the undergraduate level, at least) as concerned about generating new knowledge with students.

My question is, how can open courseware and academics/professionals be retooled jointly to create open, new knowledge-producing spaces for students and life-long learners?

Horizon Forum on technologies and education in Latin America

horizon-web.jpgJoin us for the next Horizon Forum meeting!

Technologies and education in Latin America:

Changes in the infrastructure and not in the teaching methods

Monday, February 26, 12-3 p.m.

Room 319, Coffman Memorial Union
University of Minnesota, East Bank Campus
300 Washington Avenue, S.E. Minneapolis

Cristobal Cobo, Ph.D., is a specialist in information technologies, faculty member and Manager of the Communication and Information Technology Department at Flacso-México. He completed his Ph.D. (in communications science) at the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona. In addition, he has been a teacher at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey and Universidad de Colima. He manages projects involving innovation, distance education, and knowledge management supported by information and communications technologies. His current research is centered on “collective intelligence,” the “architecture of participation,” and the phenomenon of the “wisdom of crowds” and its application in learning environments.

The Horizon Forum is a “mold breaking” round-table initiated by the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota to facilitate action-oriented discussions on how we may design outstanding educational futures for Minnesota.

Lunch and validated parking will be provided.

Please RSVP by February 19 to John Moravec, 612-625-3517 or

Map to event:

Horizon Forum on the Web: