It is not new to approach a human problem by looking a natural phenomenon to find ideas. We have heard of the cockle-bur inspiring the invention of Velcro. Erin Brewer has looked to biology to find some interesting ideas on how to solve the teacher-bandwidth problem as we attempt to reach wider audiences with our instruction. The question is, can we foster communities that have the benefits of self-organizing communities and symbiotic relationships?
I don’t know the answer to that, but if the answer is yes then I think we have a very powerful tool for increasing our teacher bandwidth.
What is the value of technology in teaching? I suspect that more than making teaching intrinsically better through technology the thing that we can look forward to gaining through technology in education is the economies of scale. The teaching may not be much better than it was before from an individual standpoint, but being able to spread education and expand collaboration may make the education of mankind much better.
This was a very interesting study. Erin has promised to get the paper up on the web. When I know where it is I will post a link to the paper if anyone is interested after reading my thoughts from the paper. I promise that what I have written here will not spoil the information in the paper.