It is interesting to be confronted with a question one has never stopped to consider.
In my travels regarding Personal Learning I have bumped into Co-operation and Collaboration and realised I have spent little time ever considering them as titles to different types of interaction.
Harold Jarche has his clear view about the roles of each and stresses the value of co-operation.
Stephen Downes provides us with a careful description of how the two relate to our learning actions.
It seems to me that Collaboration requires us to work to the norms or requirements of the group or those we collaborate with – in other words we have goals and work together on them.
Co-operation involves very similar interaction but as I retain my individuality and right to learn and make progress in accordance with my needs it seems as though my networking is encouraged and enhanced. Perhaps in NAPP terms we mainly co-operate as each of us is working to our own individual goals and we do not slavishly focus on collaborative goals.
I like the thought that we each enjoy the chance to grow ourselves as leaders – each in our own way and setting. Our co-operation then encourages us to share knowledge and questions without knowing or necessarily wanting something specific in return.
Looking ahead to professional learning across groups of schools perhaps the point to make is to co-operate to get knowledge flows occuring so that schools and individuals can pick up on what they need to know. Benefits arising because the co-operative inter-changes occur and the individuality of schools and their needs is not buried under a collaborative blanket of the “perfect model” approach.
How trusting are we though? Can we co-operate with other schools without knowing for sure what we will get out of our co-operation?
Anyway there is a place for collaboration and co-operation at school district level and school leaders will need to ensure it helps achievement through powerful professional learning.