random notes and such from
Rhizomatic learning is a story of how we can learn in a world of abundance – abundance of perspective, of information and of connection.
Rhizomatic Learning posits, among other things, that the community is the curriculum.
I’m looking for new ways to explain the things I have come to believe about learning, the nagging sense of what might be true that I just can’t put into words. I am a nomad, not a knower. I’ll do what i can to help or answer, but this is not a situation where i know things that others don’t. I’m hosting a party, not trying to tell you what or how to think.
I’ve been scratching my head about rhizomatic learning for 7-8 years because i think the story is important. These six weeks are me inviting you to scratch your head along with me.
so a party.
a scratching your head party.
link to each week below.
(perhaps add most resonating/reflective part here)
love this from unhangout #1 – jan 16:
cheating as legacy of the era of scarcity..
where rhizomatic learning is fundamentally important: if we think of the end goal (ie: of learning about cheating) as finding a definition/answer.. we’ve left the path of complexity.. we’ve left whatever chance we had trying to get a feeling for what it means.. by trying to box up a part of the meaning.. and cut around the little extra parts… and trying to make it one little thing. there’s no one thing. there’s no way we’re going to box that up. there’s no common definition. – Dave
intrigued that we are so inclined to definitions/overviews/maps. [even when we’re focusing on a non-capturable ish topic such as a rhizome.] are we seeing/hoping that some rhizomatic learning is the new program/method/fix. if we could just figure it out, label it, dissect it, come up with an elevator pitch, definition, glossary, in order to more efficiently spread/scale/perpetuate it.
if we dig deeper, slow down, breathe, pay attention – to us .. perhaps we’ll see it’s less about a new/old method (buzzword even) we need to come up with to try, but simply about noticing what naturally happens, what naturally is. [so less about rhizomatic learning as a type of learning and more about noticing that natural learning/living resembles a rhizome.] perhaps things that matter, happen without our micromanagement/declaration. what if the managing/declaring/defining bit is more about our ego than our eco [oikos]. what if we’re missing it (life/what matters most), because of our egocentric urge to package it all up (which ends up taking up most of our days/resources- the packaging/proving part.. no?)
and what if we could get ourselves (back) to eudaimonia ness, by resisting the ego’s plea to declare/prove/manage this rhizomatic/wild nature of life. spend our days instead .. being. doing the thing(s) we can’t not do.
perhaps if we realize how similar our instinct/need for learning is to our instinct/need for oxygen, we’d be more prone to alive ness. ie: if you stop learning, you do die, you are not quite alive. [perhaps evidenced best by the efficiency/perpetuation of the system.. no? alive people wouldn’t subject themselves or their children to a compulsory curriculum 7 hours a day for 12 plus years. just in case they need some piece of paper to get them in places most of us end up not really wanting in. perhaps the biggest cheating scandal of all.]
4 week summary ish via Dave:
Access to information, however, is not the real transformative change that excites me about learning on the Internet. Information is cold, pre-processed stuff that, at one time, came from a human. As Socrates so elegantly put it in the Phaedrus;
once it’s written down it can no longer defend itself.
[and perhaps that’s when the human mind/ego is sparked to defend]
Now, we can reach out and find the person behind the information. We can reach people and
hear their thoughts while they are still uncertain,
while they still maintain their complexity.
The real transformation that has happened is a near unlimited possibility for connection to actual people.
reading Dave’s post above while hearing the below…
we keep trying to reduce complexity to something we can understand, & thus control–
more from Dave’s post:
In my hometown the easiest way to start a gathering from amoungst those connections was to light a fire on the beach. We’d rustle together some driftwood, stack it up high and set a match to it. People saw it from further down the beach or from the road. At first, they gathered round the fire in order to find their bearings. Then they would look from face to face in the firelight, listen in on conversations and gradually gravitate to a group. As the evening wore on, the groups would start to separate a little more and standing away from each other.
The fire became less central. This was because the fire was not the purpose of the party; it was the catalyst for connection.
This massive potential for connection prompted by openness was what I meant by the word MOOC when I first used it.
They are people who would have probably never met, never run across each other, but for the fire on the beach, which is our course.
..We have, for years, created communities around passions and ideas. Communities are hard to join; they have exclusive histories that can make it difficult for new people to make connections. Sometimes you just need to light a match on the beach and invite everyone over.
suggestion for Dave’s pre-physics mooc…
have kids spend summer watching Richard Feynman videos. and perhaps a few movies. let them go. perhaps with only agenda being – they have time/space/permission to detox/fall-back in love with the questions. [otherwise we spin wheels.. get tired .. end up in basically the same place]
have uni profs (of said freshman courses this mooc is prep for) do the same. of course you have to trust them (their whimsy) enough – for them to trust they won’t be punished for taking time and space to fall in love with questions again themselves.. et al.
part of prof’s detox/letting go – might be facilitated/eased by them crowdsourcing an editable wiki/syllabus/site (wesch style) with all the things/topics assumed essential to be credentialed in physics. hyperlinking to a few things already created (ie: prof’s, khan’s, etc) and some whimsical/new/fresh snippets.. ie: physics profs interview series.. one on one style? main purpose for this site is perhaps.. to keep profs from micro managing once course officially starts. as well as.. to debunk the starting and stopping of a course/learning.
ideally – if the uni could do away with the notion (and actuality) of pre-req’s and credentialing.. and allow for more free-flow/whimsy (ie: audit as ability to drop in and out of spaces at no penalty – that’s more what the mooc completion rate is telling us – than that its a failure – no?) until we get the mindset that what really matters is –
..who’s together in a space – per choice.
like money has done to our economic system, credentialing (of assumed essential topics) does to our ecosystem of learning/living. scarcity becomes the driving force/assumption, and so then, competing for that limited resource/thinking de-humanizes us. makes us forget what matters.
feb 2015 – official paper on rhizo 14 – in sunlight and shade (Jenny Mackness & Frances Bell):
starting mar 15, 2015: rhizo15
writing the unreadable untext (on rhizo 14 ish):
The Untext speaks as i, or first-person swarm. We are all there in the text not as I, but as i. We lacked a word and made do with what was at hand. We was too unified, a coherent whole, a choir with one voice, and not a swarm. I carries way too much baggage from centuries of coherence and individualism and our own delusions that we exist. i had to do. It worked rather well. i also helps to remind us to check our egos at the door — something that made possible a truly collaborative experience, though collaboration is too stringent a word. Swarm is better.
..we had no intention of communicating about anything. We wrote over each other, past each other. We surprised, echoed, drifted. Everything was lateral, tending toward no main point or thesis. Then others joined, and the hum grew louder. But not discordant, at least not if you are in the swarm — not a part of groupthink.
(Kevin said: “If we think of writing as nourishment for the self (I write to learn), then this document, in all of its starts and ends and middle roads to the margins, has done its job for me.”), as legibility entails “projecting your subjective lack of comprehension onto the object you are looking at, as ‘irrationality.’ We make this mistake because we are tempted by a desire for legibility,” but that ends up distorting reality in favor of legibility. So we will not.