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11.07.2008

A bounty of inspiring books

The past two months have brought on a feast of wonderful books. I've quickened my pace faster than my usual reading of two books a week. I've only written here about of couple of those I've read, and I mentioned a few others in passing. Here's a summary of the inspired possibilities I'm pondering that will emerge as more writing in the near future.

As I explored the upgrade of personal learning environments (to PLE 2.0) as a mash-up of DIY and DIT learning, I wondered about issues of resilience and sustainability. The Upside of Down launched me into the possibility of forest ecology as a useful metaphor to spawn resilient learning communities. Gaia's Garden offered rich analogies drawn from permaculture gardening. Biomimicry went further in explorations of prairie ecologies and spontaneous restoration efforts to consider how to nurture the self-organizing dimensions of collaborative learning.

Reading Dave Pollard's Finding the Sweet Spot brought on a deluge of insights about psychological obstacles to realizing how to make a fulfilling difference in the world . I also realized how learners responding to another community member's inquiries, needs or confusion, are functioning like entrepreneurs. They identify unmet needs and formulate ways to effectively respond. These helpful community members are essentially "co-creating value with customers" as many recent business books have explored in depth like Seeing What's Next and Blue Ocean Strategy.

I've been exploring several books on community formation for insights in how online learning communities might take shape. Building Powerful Community Organizations provides a great approach for outreach and organizing gatherings among strangers. The Change Handbook is loaded with processes that help people combine their ideas, values, perspectives and agendas. Creating a Life Together explores the ten percent of intentional communities that succeed at developing cohesion and getting over the hurdles of tax liens, zoning restrictions, long term financing, building repair, and income generation.

I've been delighted to discover how the software we've been calling Web 2.0 tools is going commercial. Groundswell reviews the many uses the corporations and their marketing departments have begun to use these tools to work with their customers. The Age of Engage continues that theme from a marketing angle. Crowdsourcing explores lots of different business models built with Web 2.0 tools. All these suggest that learning communities could be monetized and become financially viable.

Each of these books offers a treasure trove of inspiring possibilities. Then there are wonderful connections I've been making between these books that add refinements to the prospect of PLE 2.0 learning communities. Stay tuned!

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