"Marx condemned capitalism as a system that alienates the masses. His reasoning was as follows: Although workers produce things for the market, market forces control things; workers do not. People are required to work for capitalists who have full control over the means of production and maintain power in the workplace. Work, he said, becomes degrading, monotonous, and suitable for machines rather than free, creative people."
The key concepts here that connect into our views of civil society include: control of products and ways of producing them; engaging work; and creativity. These concepts also align with developmntal views of citizen participation, and these are important to me as they are a framework for thinking about Web 2.0 developments. What does it mean to use Web 2.0 in your work? What are your politics of Web 2.0?
A few of us went to a valuable case study discussion of wikis in the classroom, lead by Marija Cubric of the University of Hertforshire Business School. Some of the key points she raised were impacted by the clear pedagogic and epistemologic focus of her wiki - its place in the curriculum, the tasks that built it, and the products of the students' labour were explicitly communicated to its users. Marija highlighted:
- the importance of Vygotsky and social development;
- the links between wiki-based tasks, Bloom's taxonomy of educational competencies, and the scaffolded learning opportunities that they support;
- the critical importance of feedback in the system and for individuals;
- student outcomes in terms of "motivation", "fun", "quality of contributions", "increased in-class interactions";
- raised student expectations for this type of learning opportunity; and
- the impact on assessment [peer, group, weightings etc.] and of increased contact-time.