So I’m facilitating this week of discussion on some stuff i’ve been talking about… and people are talking back. This openness stuff is for the birds 😛
Wow. some kind of a day. I make no promises of being able to do this all this week… but i’m going to try. I know if i don’t make some comments about stuff right away, I will lose it. And there have been some amazing things created yesterday and today. (don’t know what i’m talking about? I’m fascilitating an open course this week… see the course page)
Giulia Forsythe (and cogdog)
First nod has to go to the breathtaking bit of work pulled together by Giulia Forsythe. If you ignore her overly kind bio, you’ll see a stunning piece of artwork describing her feelings about rhizomatic learning. She’s challenged people to add a new soundtrack.. AND Cogdog took her up on it. If you’re unfamiliar with what a ‘remix’ is… this will clear that up for you. I’m working on my own overlay for Giulia’s work which i hope to have done by the end of the week… but i’d like to address something in Cogdog’s video.
Roots vs. Rhizomes.
When Deleuze and Guattari chose the ‘rhizome’, and the reason i find it appealing, is that it is always a multiple. There is no ‘plant’ (singular) or tree or some single entity that starts and ends. No roots of a tree that serve that single tree. A rhizome moves and expands twists and turns, throws down roots and pushes up shoots as the context allows. When you look at a patch of japanese knotweed or aspen… you are seeing something that is many. I think this distinction is important 🙂
Several comments in yesterday’s post inquired after ‘motivation’ in rhizomatic learning. What encourages the learner through the process… what gets them to engage? This is certainly a challenge. Of course, its a challenge for any model. The big obstacle, i think, is that most students are accustomed to an entirely different model. Some general comments
- ‘successful/good’ students have decided, in many cases, that their motivation is ‘doing things right’. My classes are a struggle for those students.
- In the best cases, motivation is something that is part of the learning process. It is the REASON the student is there… but this is not usually the case.
- I’ve found that rhizomatic learning motivates those not motivated by ‘doing it the right way’.
Facts Facts Facts
suifaijohnmak wrote a very interesting, penetrating response to rhizomatic learning. There is a point at which we started talking about facts… and i have funny feelings about facts.
Basically… i don’t believe in them. I know that’s an odd statement… but i mean it directly. I don’t BELIEVE in them. I don’t think that the things we point to as simple components “WWII started in 1939” or “Two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen” exist on their own. Implicit in them is a whole bunch of things unsaid. What does it mean to start a war? War for whom? Does it make sense to call it a World War? Do we actually understand what is happening inside an atom? etc…
Yes. They are good shorthands for everyday conversation. Getting students to be able to repeat this ‘facts’ allows them to be part of a discussion that could allow actual learning.
Community vs. Peer Review
There were a few comments about the validity of ‘just getting stuff from the community’. Many, many people in my community get their research peer-reviewed. Some of them also apply equivalent rigour to the work that they post on their blog. Some of their blogs are reviewed (mine certainly is toughly enough by times) by the same people who do the peer reviewing for journals… except that it is done in public. ALL KNOWLEDGE is created by people. Saying that you are getting your curriculum from the community doesn’t mean, in any way, that what you’re working from has less rigour.
Challenge in rhizomatic learning
A couple of comments about this… which i can’t seem to find right now. The model breeds challenge… lots of it. Come out to see the event tomorrow…
I love the title of this blog. Music for deckchairs. A nice (if tangled) set of comments on the reality of the standards agenda and how this conflicts with rhizomatic learning. Yes. There are realities that we are bound by… this is how i handled grading during the last ‘graded version’ of a course like this.
I read lots of interesting posts today, many of which i did not do a good job keeping track of… sorry for those folks who didn’t get cited here. I’m sure there are some i didn’t read, but there were lots that i read and pulled together for these responses… lets see what tomorrow brings.