Friday, 17 January 2014

#rhizo14: the Community is the Curriculum

This week I sort of started two MOOCS – NovoEd’s Storytelling for Change and Dave Cormier’s Rhizomatic Learning: #rhizo14: The Community is the Curriculum.
I had a go at both of them – and they do both look good. BUT – I’m only going to proceed with #rhizo14 – it is more flexible and self-directed – it is setting us free to work together - and I already know and like quite a lot of the other participants.
Here’s some info on Storytelling for change in case it appeals – then I will paste in some cool stuff about #rhizo14 – including links to some of the best blogs that I’ve already stumbled across.
Key Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, participants will:
Be confident in using stories, especially personal stories, as part of their communication toolkit.
Know how to tell stories and use a specific set of storytelling skills so that they connect with the hearts and minds of their audiences (an audience of one or many).
Have developed, rehearsed, and received feedback on one personal story as a replicable model so that they can build a personal “library” or “back pocket” of stories that can be used in different situations.
Be able to use a 5-step process to integrate story into presentations for change, work, or many other situations.

#rhizo14: And so it begins:
The tour:
The FB group:
Dave’s opening blog posts thoughts:
“Rhizomatic Learning posits, among other things, that the community is the curriculum. That being able to participate with and among those people who are resident in a particular field is a primary goal of learning. In each of my classes the curriculum is, of course, filled with the ideas and connections that pre-exist in the field but the paths that are taken by the students are as individual as they are, and the path taken by the class is made up of the collected paths chosen by all the students, shaped by my influence as an instructor and the impact of those external nodes they manage to contact.”

Week 1 Things to do:
Introduce yourself, follow one of the threads of discussion somewhere. Comment on someone's work. Get acclimated.
Week 1 Challenge - Use cheating as a weapon. How can you use the idea of cheating as a tool to take apart the structures that you work in? What does it say about learning? About power? About how you see teaching?
Bonus - Do lots of rhizomatic teaching? Tell us about it.
Some cool blogs:
Emily P: un content ed – Blog Challenge everything!
This fits:
Failing Superman: - curriculum as endurance.
As does this:
Everything is a re-mix: - especially the richly textured beginning.
I just love this:
Irrational art series: Not dishonesty as much as a really cool research method.
And @dkernohan’s daily create challenges: 
A big takeaway for the weekend:
And if you’re holding back cos the tech scares you… this PPT essay on technology made me smile:

But the best note on cheating to learn comes from Ary’s wonderful blog: A small plot of land (
I am a former high school teacher with rhizomatic tendencies so I have been at war with public education for the last 20 years, defending my students’ right to think, question, create and express themselves, so hell yeah I’ve cheated! …for one I never taught from a textbook or assigned a workbook. I always got to know my students to discover what they wanted to read and write about. I asked them what they wanted to learn, and I listened. …It took months to set up this type of infrastructure and culture in my classroom, and honestly there were always those students and (their parents) who preferred to passively learn, answer questions at the end of the chapter, or complete a worksheet than to rewrite, remix and modernize an act of Romeo and Juliet, podcast it, or perform it live for their classmates. Some people prefer traditions. It‘s safe. My students took risks.  They weren’t students; they were actors, producers, writers, directors, poets, pod-casters, radio show hosts, bloggers, analysts, reporters, detectives, mentors, lawyers, teachers, game show hosts, artists, mimes…they did it all!  They created “stuff” all the time…”

Frankly in awe of Ary here for being able to do this in the public education system, and for younger students. I like to think that I managed a fraction of this in my evening A’level classes, mainly attended by adults wanting to wrestle with Shakespeare and Chaucer. I definitely try to mix it up in my University classes … but against the sheer monolithic power of state education ???!!!!! That is an achievement!

Right now we (my partner Tom Burns and I – with Quaco Cloutterbuck) are running ‘Becoming an Educationalist’ ( Deleuzian in form and content, we’ve started to de-territorialise – we are nomads – we are taking our lines of flight – and our lines of escape… 

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