Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Conway's Law

I ran across this a few weeks ago; now I've got some time to put some thoughts down:

Conway's Law
...organizations which design systems (in the broad sense used here) are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations. Link

Now, this isn't a law like Murphys; it actually has some basis in research. Conway was talking about computer systems but it seems to be applicable to larger systems. What ramifications does this law have for educational change? Given that communication in most schools is (strictly) hierarchical, moving down from above, are we caught in a design loop that will only reinforce a teaching environment that is predominately lecture based, even if it's online? Although we've been a 1:1 environment for ten years, most of us are still teacher-centric, eyes-forward in the classroom. Is Christensen (from Disrupting Class) right in that we have to start new schools rather than try to change existing schools from within?
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