From Curiosity and Creativity in Children (OpenEducation.net blog):
Professor Steven Dutch takes very strong exception to the assumption that curiosity is innate… In his eyes children are not innately curious. Instead, they are tinkerers with generally short attention spans.
…“curiosity and creativity collide headlong with another trait deeply rooted in biology, the desire to minimize effort and expenditure of energy.”
This rings true for me, but note that in his direct quote, he’s not saying curiosity doesn’t exist, just that it’s overstated, and opposed by other forces. (Read a book or eat an ice-cream? Watch a documentary, or a cartoon?) And this is a highly relevant question for open educators, in terms of how we engage people.
When I refer to open education, I include projects such as Appropedia and Wikipedia, in the broad sense of offering education to all of society.
So how has Wikipedia engaged people and garnered such an enormous community of contributors? Here’s one thought: Although most of us might lack general curiosity, almost all of us have areas of curiosity. And in Wikipedia, they almost certainly have an article on your area of curiosity (and possibly a whole category structure) where you can learn more, and also share what you know.*
There is curiosity there. Those of us building community for collaborative projects just have to find it, and tap into it.
*I was going to add “and if there isn’t an article, you can create one!” but that’s not so easy on Wikipedia any more. Appropedia is still very open, because it’s newer and has different aims, different criteria, and a different approach to community.