Musing on Rhizo Research

I wanted to reply to Sarah’s recent post on her experiences related to rhizomatic research, and as much as I love Wordsworth, it is Whitman’s poem Whoever You Are Holding Me Now in Hand that came to mind as symbolic of what rhizomatic research is. The entire poem is fantastic, so much so that I will reprint it here to make it easier to consider how Rhizomatic Learning and its various incarnations seem to speak to us in the words Whitman used Continue readingMusing on Rhizo Research

Using Google via a German Actor-Network

imageAs a follow-up, or rather continuation, to my last post on a Rhizomatic ANT in Germany, I have been thinking about the role our ideas play in helping (challenging? confronting? supporting?) us move our actions forward. While traveling, I find myself coming back again and again to the single web presence to help me plan for and navigate, my trip: Google.

Who doesn’t use Google, after all?

That may be one of its benefits / strengths . . . or one of its weaknesses.

Whether for drafting Continue readingUsing Google via a German Actor-Network

A Rhizomatic ANT In Germany

imageHere I am in Germany for my first holiday in five years, and while there is a nasty train strike going on across the country, I still somehow find myself on one of the trains that is running thinking about our #rhizo15 time together (and alone), especially as the informally formal part of it is nearing its end.

I posted a question in the #rhizo15 Facebook group about any experiences people had or thought about regarding travel and the rhizome, and I got the most interesting responses that helped push my thinking a bit further. In some ways, I have started to rely on this, my informal network, and can even envision maintaining contact with some of my new colleagues from here. Anyway, I digress.

There I was walking through Munich and I found myself in an antique coin dealer’s shop where a World War II era  coin was of interest and shortly thereafter purchased by one of my travel partners. Never much interested in coins, I did not at first pay attention to it until I noticed its date. Odd that the coin at first seemed Continue readingA Rhizomatic ANT In Germany

Farewell to Rhizomes #change11

I am very happy our #change11 MOOC week on rhizomatic learning is now behind us.

For anybody not familiar with this, take a look at some of the excellent electronic ink that has been written on it by Dave Cormier (whose energy is quite contagious and who I admire for all his work over the past week with his postmodern approach to interaction and learning), Jenny Makness, Keith Hamon, Terry Anderson, and John Mak, among countless others.

Yes, I know that rhizomatic learning–learning that that happens without a beginning or end or middle or goal or direction or structure or leadership or objective or focus–will happen regardless of our week ending and our attention moving on to another topic. In fact, this metaphor seems to capture much of the richness (for those of us in the education business, if you will) of learning, though it also demonstrates (for those who like to measure everything in a positivistic or scientific manner) how edu-talk sustains itself without improving (or relating to) anything in the world.

With all this, I am left grasping for what all of this rhizome-talk means for us in practice. In other words, what do I do with this now that I could not do 2 weeks ago? Yes, I now have more of a metaphorical language and have had lots of interesting discussions, and while that may be enough to help move me toward my MOOC goals, I am not sure where all this specific rhizome-talk leads, beyond miring us into swirling chatter that leads both everywhere and nowhere, leaving me a bit unsettled.

Slavoj Zizek and Rhizomatic Learning

As Dave Cormier is speaking about Rhizomatic learning this week in the #change11 MOOC, I thought about this recent interview Charlie Rose had with the philosopher and cultural critic, Slavoj Zizek.

While I know that Dave’s work on rhizomatic learning does not have the same critical lens that Zizek uses, his way of seamlessly moving from one topic to another, approaching human experience from different perspectives, speaks to me about what may be possible if we extend this discussion (as learning opportunities surround us) to other areas of learning and experiencing the world. In this way it recalls Dave’s thinking:

The rhizome metaphor, which represents a critical leap in coping with the loss of a canon against which to compare, judge, and value knowledge, may be particularly apt as a model for disciplines on the bleeding edge where the canon is fluid and knowledge is a moving target.

I wonder how rhizomatic learning fits with cultural studies, and if in this way it has a certain interdisciplinarity about it?