Monday 18 May 2015

keynote #emoocs2015 @davecormier on rhizomatic learning

Great keynote by Dave Cormier, here are the live blog words:
Live blogpost
Potentially Massive, radically open, conceptually onlne, still a course

Dave narrates his local space, Prins Edward Island, enabling people to connect with the world thourhg online learning

Trying to figure out what exactly you can do with it, with internet. He is a teacher by nature. He recounts the moment where he thought (as a teacher): what am I doing, what am I missing, what is out there and what is not.

Coming together with the community of EdTechTalk, a lot of problems arose, so it was hard to build a community. In the summer of 2008 he came across of George Siemens and Stephen Downes, and as coincidences happen Dave said “the course you are making could be called a massive open online course”, hence the word.
If I set up the context of the learning journey I have been on for 16 years of learning, it comes to this:
Julius Caesar taught himself to talk the birds out of the trees. He did this to see one guy Molin (also taught Cicero). But while traveling there, Julius got capture by pirates, but he got out, learned and returned to kill the pirates. So learning was dangerous, costly… but it was the highest option in learning, as he could have access to the best mentor. But mentors do not scale very well.

At the university of Toulouse students scrutinizes the bosom of nature. So Aristotle was censored, but an underground movement invited people to get access by going to Toulouse, not the censored Paris. So in 1229 AD the scale of texts was enabled, but you did no longer have a mentor but have an expert, which was better to be scaled.

Pestalozzi is Dave’s learning hero (1798 AD), one of his most incredible things was: wanting to teach the whole of Switzerland to read. A mounteness country with only 100 teachers: scale of papers, and teachers…. Gertrude’s teaching. Where the pedagogy gets integrated with the text. So that way, we move to content. The textbook is a robotic process where the pedagogy is intertwined with expertise. Again tech increased the scale: fantastic for Pestalozzi.

Now we have visual, digital possibilities. All of a sudden we are not restricted by print. So now we can ensure that the learning community can become the MOOC curriculum. So now we can connect directly, not via ‘tools’.

Teaching at present is a myth, the roots of this myth is content. We have all been programmed to see education in a certain way, and we proof it that that is indeed teaching. Yet in 1876 AD, UK, if you could read a few lines of poetry, and slowly write a dictated sentence and do basic arythmatic, you could get out of school (after proving them). So a bit like a prison that you can only break out of when conforming to a given norm. So the process of learning was about ‘finishing’. The point is that it was not a lifelong learning process, not the love for learning. It was thought that once you left, you would stay out of school as well.

The myth of content: content comes from the trees, and the core of rhizomatic learning takes down that mythical tree. The Japanese nut tree bush does whatever it wants, for it moves beneath the earth, it is mostly roots.

Success is not linear, it is chaotic, complex, in all directions.

Rhizo2015: at the beginning of the course, there is no content. As the 6 week course growths the content comes out. One mid-week email, not clear direction given, and social intervention. It mimics programming: first there is nothing, then it becomes the actual program. In a way the content already exists, it is out there for the participants to choose it. In the rhizo challenges is there to spark discussions.

Dave does not use any lms, just the internet. Conceptually, the internet already has the connections, so the actual creation goes beyond the platform. Last year, the learners kept on going the course for another 4 weeks even after the course, just because of the creative character of the course.

What Dave does do: is give social interventions. Where conflicts (pedagogy, epistemology, ontology) Dave comes in to jump in and works his way through it with all people in it. Those interventions are not opinion based, but acknowledgements to support the common basis.

In one instance, rhizo2014 resulted in a radio play made from the second week, by 15 people building it.
Students of rhizo do most of the curation as well, drawings, stats, …. The participation tends to increase as it goes along, which is quite amazing. And a lot of retention is about asking the right, motivational questions. Most of the target people are experienced educators for rhizo. He did try with laymen, but it is tougher for the less literate on education. ( is of interest that takes that approach to increase literacy).
Before the course starts, Dave sends out what it takes (skills) to get the most out of a rhizo. The ability to collaborate, to engage, to respond creatively.

No platform, so what is used? Dave used a hashtag to get people connected (twitter, facebook, maybe google group), the students choose the locations, and those locations get sent via the newsletter of the course. So Dave sends out one blogpost and one tweet, with a link to blog with sign-up that offers the newsletter. Having regular scheduled emails is a real bonus to keep communication going.
If the location is open, then the connections can sustain themselves also after the course.

Dave does this on his own time, he crowdsources the research. If the goal is to produces highly reproducible content, then this is not a good approach, but for new work, this is a really good approach.

Embracing uncertainty: because of the blank canvas, the conversations can go off into any direction, that resembles the life that we actually live.
Enforcing independence: the learner needs to create and drive their own learning. Success becomes something personal.
Radically open: it is open in a sense that people are creating their own content, and that it is open. How do you go about learning when you do not know what learning is about. So what you do is build strategies that are reactions on what is happening, and how you feel the actions are happening.
Learning is a non-counting noun: if you imagine that learning is different for each student, then you know there is no ‘good’ answer. It is all about the learning journey.
But it leads to a lot of confusion that happens, it is really difficult to process yourself through this. But this is what actual learning looks like: friendships, parentship, … it requires constant attention and reinvention.

Networked learning process: those networks are tiny little dots where people know who is connected. some people come up with similar networks, some with new, … so everyone has a different map of understanding due to the networks they connect to.

Each one of the networks has different conversations, sometimes overlapping, sometimes living on their own. But all of these connections are one of the outcomes of the course. Because the outcomes of the course are the results. So the learning process is actually cheating, as the content is out there. So cheating is part of the learning goal, as they connect with others, learn from each other in the open.

So Rhizo does not sound like a course, but it is a course: no assessment, no curriculum… but it is important that people come together, those people can learn from each other, and allow us to move for a specific amount of time. The goal of the course is to orient, declare, network, cluster and focus following your own learning journey and desire.

Planned obsolescence: at first Dave is in the course, by week 4 communities are set up and he is no longer in the course, he becomes obsolete.

Rhizomatic learning builds
Diverse perspectives
Practical literacies
Real connections

An open system designed to help people grow will provide literacies they need to know. The community is the curriculum, and the vehicle, and the goal. Being successful in that community of knowers, so success is never ending. 

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