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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Seven Mantras for Rhizomatic Learning

To contribute to the Practical Guide for Rhizomatic Learning (such a great idea from Dave!), I thought I would write up a few notes about the results of my learning subjective for #Rhizo15, which was to jumpstart my totally revamped approach to content in my Indian Epics class, a project that will occupy my whole summer. This course redesign was something I had been planning for months, so the timing of #Rhizo15 was perfect, and so were the topics that Dave brought up week after week, especially the content week. Instead of getting lost in the details, I'll try to sum up my experience in general terms. :-)

1. LET THINGS GROW. During Rhizo15, I got to watch my Indian Epics space split into three different spaces, and it was a very "natural" process, a growth spurt as it were, but it took a while: I was patient, and I waited until I could see which direction things were going before I made the new spaces. Things that are growing need room to grow in, and now I have three nice big spaces, ready for what will grow there this year: IE Images, IE Guides, and IE Comics.

Little by little grow the bananas.

2. PRUNE AS NEEDED. To make room for good new growth, you need to prune away the old growth, the wilted flowers, the scraggly-looking branches. For example, during the spring I let my book list grow and grow and grow to well over 100 books, but over the past few weeks, I pruned it back, with this result, about 50 public domain books for my students to browse: IE Guides. And now I can let it start growing again, and then prune it back again next year.... and so on ad infinitum and ad libitum.

Weeds spring up where we do not sow them.

.... BUT DON'T FEAR THE WEEDS. So, yes, prune as needed, but don't worry about weeding and pruning until you really need to do that. Let everything grow for a while, and then you can decide later what to keep and what to compost!

A good garden may have some weeds.

3. LET THE SUN SHINE IN. Get rid of the so-called walled garden of the LMS... which is really just a dark dumpster, not a garden at all. Let the sunshine in! Everything needs sunshine to grow. Go open-by-default and put everything you can on the open Internet.


4. LINK EVERYTHING. If something is not linked, how will you ever get there? I believe in linking all the content, linking all the people, linking everything. A big part of my content development process is adding links and links and more links so that students will be able to go wherever their curiosity leads them. So, for example, here is a page from my Public Domain Ramayana, and here is a comic book Reading Guide: I don't like to lecture, but I sure do like to link! For a visual metaphor, here is a map of the Seoul Subway:


5. BLOG EVERYTHING. Just as with the Connected Courses experience last fall, the Rhizo15 experience confirmed for me what a powerful tool blogs can be for connecting people! My favorite thing about Rhizo15 was reading blog posts and finding new people to connect with that way, connections I hope will continue after Rhizo15 is "over" (scare quotes intended). So, I feel connected to other people in #Rhizo15 through their blogs (thank you, Inoreader!), and that blog-connectivity is also what powers my Indian Epics class as well. Here's a screenshot from the Inoreader bundle for Rhizo15 this morning:


6. BRING THINGS TO THE SURFACE. I am a big fan of using randomizers to bring things to the surface, helping people find things serendipitously that they might not have found before. This is especially important when there is a superabundance of stuff to experience and enjoy, so much so that consciously choosing which way to go is hard! In the sidebar of those three IE spaces — IE ImagesIE Guides, and IE Comics — you will see randomizers that feature random student Storybooks from the past along with random images, and I will be able to add a comic book randomizer at the end of the summer! Whoo-hoo! Meanwhile, here's the Storybook randomizer: let the students from past classes help you with your learning now!





And last but not least . . .

7. DANCE TO THE MUSIC. I've got my YouTube Indian music channel embedded in the sidebar of the Indian Epics spaces because music is fun and music is beautiful. You can never have too much music! :-)



HAVE
FUN 

LEARNING,
EVERYBODY!

:-)


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