Friday, January 7, 2011

Diving into Transactive Memory


Having finished my master’s degree a tad over 7 months ago, I feel like I remember most of the material and content from my program’s curriculum. Therefore, I am both shocked and disappointed that I never came across transactive memory. In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell, describes the establishment and promotion of transactive memory as essential to establishing innovative culture at successful companies. A transactive memory system is a system where groups store, organize, and regain information. They do this collectively to develop a “group mind”.  Around close groups of people, like couples, it is a constant intellectual give and take. We store information with others and look for their guidance, specialization, and creditability to create a whole that has a greater knowledge base and a greater number of ways to create and use that knowledge. 

A quick peak at the Wikipedia page for transactive memory proves to be a great jumping off point for some of the research of this theory. It also gives three basic components of transactive memory—specialization, coordination, and credibility. These all happen to be integral parts of authentic, cooperative project based learning. Transactive memory also gives credence to the fact that the old individualistic notion of schooling squashes the amazing outcomes that collaboration can procure.  The more I read about it the more I am blown away about some of its implications for forward-thinking and innovative schools and classrooms.

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