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Technology Creates Feasibility Spaces for Social Practice.

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Wilfred Rubens recently wrote a (Dutch) post asking whether the current cloud computing trend will influence how we learn. I posted a reaction in the comments linking to a couple of Kevin Kelly’s posts on the Technium (if you haven’t subscribed to the Technium, you should right now).

Wilfred’s reply to my comment made me think about one my favourite quotes about how technology can change society. It is from Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom:

Technology creates feasibility spaces for social practice. Some things become easier and cheaper, others become harder and more expensive to do or preventĀ  under different technological conditions. The interaction between these technological-economic feasibility spaces, and the social responses to these changes -both in terms of institutional changes, like law and regulation, and in terms of changing social practices- define the qualities of a period.

So, I know for a fact that cloud computing technology will create new feasibility spaces for social practice and I am sure that this will include learning. The question is not whether cloud computing will change the way we learn, the question should be how will it change the way we learn. In that regard, I think George Siemens has started asking the right questions.