The metaphor has been a powerful tool for this experience. We search for metaphors when we have trouble understanding that intangible part of our experience. In this case, some of the metaphor is built into this experience. The metaphor is a very powerful resources for people searching for the intangible. Poetry is about the intangible: love, freedom, fear, and the spiritual. Those things are only brought to beauty by way of the function of figurative language.
In thinking about creating an artifact, I thought about poetry because of the impact that the metaphor can play in explaining this process: a whimsical poem about Dave, a serious poem about being lost, a passionate poem about the power of finding your own learning path. I thought about my novella about a student who attends class that isn't happening and finds out she is in the rhizome (a bit Black Orphan inspired I'm afraid. Those two came about together. Sorry.) But I thought about all the blog posts and how they might connect and how important his space has been to me. I thought about all the other blogs out there where people challenged my thinking, my way of teaching, and even made me ask those tough questions like what are we really doing?
What artifact would show people what happened at Rhizo15? What would give people the insight? Something concrete? I was drifting for awhile. Then, it hit me.
|Ron looking for his Rhizo15 artifact.|
It wasn't what I wrote or said - it is what I did. Two students were cut loose from my class on the last two weeks. They were sent out to do something - learn something, and come back. Those two students took the risk and the challenge - which was far more work than writing my last paper, and they defined themselves. My artifacts are the two potentially new members of the rhizome community. They went out and defined their own path, they went out, sought answers that weren't for a grade but for themselves. They were driven, passionate, and they got it. We have always been in the rhizome. We have always been thinking this way. The best way to foster a community: sustain it, and these two students went beyond my hope and they went from students to scholars. They are my artifacts, not as something left behind to pick up and referenced, that is what the blog is for, but people actively walking around looking for answers, asking questions, and getting lost so they can be found. I will leave you with this comment from one of the students, "I do plan to be a professor someday and have been analyzing teaching styles and class participation throughout my college experience. I will definitely be taking what I have learned from your posts and teaching, into my whole life, my learning, my leading, my parenting, and my teaching."
P.S. Thank you all for your support and vision. It was amazing. I am up for any collaboration or projects. Please keep me in the loop.