Barriers To Knowledge Sharing

Although at times, it feels like there are very few education bloggers in Adelaide, a face to face opportunity like the education.au Jimmy Wales event reminds me that there are other voices out there in this town, presenting different takes on the state and future of education. I’m not a big podcast listener but I’ve (finally) recently finished listening to a Nancy White recording from her 2006 speaking tour of Australia. This podcast was recorded at a lunchtime address to a NSW VET sector conference and is usual with any of Nancy’s work, contains many references to the nuances and capabilities of online networks and communities. One of the points that stuck firmly in my mind is the concept that a new voice can be magnified by someone else who already has an established network. So I’m going to do exactly that in my post.

One of the educators at my table on Monday was John Travers. John is extremely well known person in the South Australian education community, having held the position of Manager of the now defunct Technology School of The Future at its peak. John even got to show Queen Elizabeth II around the facilities of TSOF during her last official Australian visit but today works with pre-service teachers at Flinders University. He was also the principal of Seacliff Primary School when I completed my final student-teacher practicum back in 1986! He’s recently dipped his toes into blogging and is looking to build his online learning network. One of his recent posts came out of one of the conversations round our table concerning the impact of heavy-handed filtering systems. He says:

It is too easy to resort to victim behavior, blaming ‘the department’ for restrictions on web access when the power is fundamentally in the hands of the school. It means being accountable for one’s actions. But principals and and teachers and school councils are expected to be accountable, to act reasonably and to act in good faith. They manage this in relation to the purchase of books for the library, and are perfectly capable of doing this in relation to selecting web sites for access by students.

Although there are many education systems with less restrictive filters than SA, and with a hierachial permissions system, John points out that there are practical ways to get on with the business of innovation. Of course that doesn’t mean that we can’t lobby and push for a better filter system in the future but we can’t let it become an excuse to prevent the innovation.

John’s a fantastic person to swap educational technology ideas and concepts with in person. I’m hoping that some of my readers who enjoy my flawed ramblings might want to check out his blog, leave some comments and add him to your aggregator.

4 Responses to “Barriers To Knowledge Sharing”


  • Thanks, it is always good to have others from our part of the world to add to my aggregator.

  • Nice amplification, Graham! :-) Now I’ll pop on over to John’s blog.

  • Part of the solution has to lie with teaching students the value of using Web2.0 responsibly in their classroom. The intrinsic notion of ‘doing the right thing’. I run IPcop as a student proxy, though the amount of ‘proxy’ files (unblock-bebo.info) et. al, that appear daily are more than we can cope with on a daily basis. We introduced ‘web authentication’ to log student viewing, though this is also hard as we run a DCHP LAN.

    Success came when we blitzed students on proxys for a day or so, showing them logs and taking them off the network for ‘time wasting’ and being ‘off topic’. This was very effective. We also reminded the whole class that we want to open up the network, and that we believe the majority of students want the same to ensure a positive end to our IP Cop classroom raids.

    In a few days, we removed about 20 students from a cohort of 900, and many students began commenting on the benefits to them. We are rolling back the firewall piece by piece in reward for positive behaviour – but at the same time are encouraging teacher to use Web2.0 effectively in their lessons. This approach is winning over students, improving the learning and addressing the notion of ‘digitial-behaviour’.

    The barrier to knowledge sharing is being addressed as the growing number of students blogging their work and also blogline-ing is growing daily … they are sharing their knowledge with peers and teachers.

    Too many students and teachers put up with these barriers, which at the end of the day are a lot of work for the IT techies to maintain, and collective responsibility through knowledge sharing is the key to removing them IMO. Will subscribe to this … thanks.

  • Hi, I’m PhD student, doing a research on on knowledge sharing in academic institutions…But its sad to see not much research done on academic institutions…anyone care to guide me, where to get relavent details

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