While marking some student assignments -- this one about the use of Toulmin's informal logic -- I came across an analysis of a short article by James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds. It may have attracted my interest because Jamie MacKinnon mentioned it at Inkshed, although I could be mistaken on that count. In the article, Surowiecki argues that "groups are smarter than the smartest person within them" (Wired, June 2004, p. 87). Naturally, this led me to think about the most recent Inkshed conference, this one held at White Point, NS.
That group (and you know who you are) provided all the backing I'll ever need to support Surowiecki's claim. Contributions came from all sides and all angles to the issues raised, but I'd like to cite the penultimate session, led by the indefatigable Nan Johnson, as a particular case in point. The group in that room created a deep structure for organizing and accessing the knowledge created over the previous three days. The general rubric for that hour was something like "questioning more deeply" some fundamental topoi of writing -- voice, inkshedding, teaching -- I can't recall them all now. But we hope you can, if you were there, and we invite you to do so, put those words to screen, and email them to us.
This edition contains two items -- a thorough model of how inkshedding
works in Betsy Sargent's classroom at the University of Alberta, and two
poems by Jamie MacKinnon. We hope you enjoy them both, and that you'll
consider sending your own work along to enrichen the Inkshed experience
with your own insights and explorations of language and learning.