Friday, August 28, 2015

"Community Learning" and #Rhizo15

In the article, Community Learning - every "we" makes a "them" Dave Cormier discusses the dynamics of groups and being "we" (inside the group) to "them" (outside the group) and I've been thinking about this idea for a few days.

My thoughts have been relatively selfish, but they fall into a few lines that are important. When Groucho Marx said, "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member" I use to think it was funny. The concept of belonging is better explained in Dave's article, but when I saw the hashtag for #Rhizo15, I started to move around those post and see what people were doing. I was amazed and fascinated by what was happening between individual posts, Facebook, Twitter, and other modes of communication. And I wanted in. And I asked "how do I get in?" I was sent a few pages that explained the ideas and the connections. And I wondered - "Am I in?" I didn't really know, but I pretended like I was in. In a few weeks, I realized by the feedback, the questions, and the great work being posted that I wasn't on the out looking in, but I was really in. And I felt empowered. I wanted other people to feel like I did. It was like waking up to a new revelation, that this was going on all the time.

One of the best things I did was apply some rhizomatic thinking and learning to my students. As I was thinking, creating, and being inspired by the people in the MOOC, I was starting to spread the message, it is happening. And you should do it too. While some of those ideas and feelings were expressed in my posts, it was clear to me that this was my time. And while I always want to be connected to the rhizomatic think tank that is #rhizo15 and beyond, I will never be a freshman again to the group. And in some ways, knowingly moving from "them" to "us" has never been so bittersweet. But in being among this group, I quickly wanted to bring others into the insight, the discovery, the freedom, and the brilliant simplicity of "building your own understanding of the world around."(Cormier). I never wanted to belong to something and then want to share it so quickly. Those two things - "belonging" which is often a selfish desire, and doing what Dave suggests "shoving that damn door open to try and let people in" changed the way I think and learn. It wasn't a paradigm shift, it was a rhizome shift.

That’s where, I believe, Constructivism comes in. From those terms, you are building your own understanding of the world around you. Not a great way to learn to use a stop sign, but a more effective mechanism for emancipation. My particular feelings about learning are, I think, a form of constructivism, where we remove the ‘right answer’ entirely, and try to move people from the THEM category of learning to the WE category. Where we are trying to bring them into the community of knowing rather than enforcing a belief upon them. Teaching is, i think, a constant effort of shoving that damn door open to try and let people in. Making WEs of the THEMs.


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