Liberating the oppressors and all such difficulties

#becomingeducational Read this blog on critical pedagogy – and the need to liberate ourselves – and also our oppressors… This is by one of our #rhizo14 colleagues in Egypt at this time – and she knows what she is talking about – as does Maya Angelou – whose poem ‘Still I rise’ she has embedded in her blog.

(Initial) Reflecting Allowed

Freire claims that “the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed [is] to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well.” As with much critical pedagogy scholarship: easier said than done! I love the critical pedagogy literature. I love the way it opens my mind and helps me rethink things and consider action. It has not, however, so far, helped guide me in that action far enough. Liberate one’s oppressors? How the heck does one do that? Mandela style?

Of course, to be fair, the critical pedagogy literature cannot and should not be prescriptive. After all, each oppressive relationship or situation is contextual, local. What works to alleviate or liberate in one instance does not work for the other… Does it?

I am trying here to think of various forms of power that can involve oppression (reminded by an old paper by Burbules: A Theory of Power in Education

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10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About The Daily Create

#becomingeducational Have a look at this post about the #ds106 Daily Creates. Be inspired! Get creating!!! Start posting some replies in the Comments box – with links to your creations!!

The Art Retreat at Mosswood Hollow

10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About The Daily Create

1.Winners get up and get creating. You decide to put TDC off until later in the day to do if you find time. Meanwhile, your Competitor has gotten up at the crack of dawn and flexed her artistic muscles over her first cup of wake-eye. Get the picture?

2. You cannot win if you do not play. You have mentally consigned your Daily Create to the realm of “play” and therefore infantilized your own creativity. Your Competitor deeply honors the primacy of deep play in the workplace for the magnetic attractor it is. Get a life!

3. Been working your brains out to produce charts and documents to land that big account? You didn’t notice Client and Competitor playing golf last Friday wearing those clever DS 106 t-shirts we all designed for The Daily Create? Get with the program!

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Getting Meta: Augmented Media for Creativity & Critical Thinking

W20 #becomingeducational Taking your research projects further…
Once you have gathered and analysed your data, we want you to produce a teaching/learning artefact that shares a small piece of what you have discovered with a wider student audience.
This excellent blog post discusses some rally useful tech-tools that you might want to use.
Big tip: if you go audio-visual – make sure it’s no more than two minutes long…
We will be organising an in-class session on this – but do come and see us if you are already bursting with big ideas!

Indiana Jen

The last session that I’m attending is “Getting Meta: Augmented Media for Creativity & Critical Thinking” with Amy Burvall. You can explore the topic and join in the conversation by joining her G+ community. Her community includes the slides as well as a list of activities.

Word Cloud of my Facebook activity. Word Cloud of my Facebook activity.

One of the most prominent terms that we hear today is “meta” – metadata, metacognition, etc. Meta means “above, beyond, or about.” Amy wants to explore different ways to get students to “get meta” with their projects. Meta is very powerful and gives us a broader idea of what is happening in the world an dour lives. For example, go to Wolfram Alpha and type in “Facebook Report.” You can learn more than you ever wanted to know about your Facebook page.

The nice think about the social media and digital world that we live in…

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W19 Becoming Educational: Enforcing independence

This week was a Study Week and Wednesday being the day before submission date we offered one to one tutorials on the Research Proposals. Many students came – the proposals look really interesting – and we are looking forward to reading them – and to seeing the outcomes of your research.


Resources – get reading those blogs!!

We have already re-blogged several posts from the MOOC #rhizo14: The Community is the Curriculum for you to read this week (and in the weeks before) – if you have not yet seen them – please scroll back through #becomingeducational and have a good read. The beauty of academic blogs is that whilst they are on-topic for you, they are much more user-friendly than the typical academic article. So don’t waste them!!

Below is a great summarizing blog post from #rhizo14 that covers all the topics that we have: ‘cheating’ as a tool to critique education; enforced independence; teaching in uncertainty; books is making us stupid; community as curriculum; leaving the nest. These are all the concepts and ideas that you will be wrestling with as educationalists – so have a look at this post – and its links – and think even more deeply about these ideas. If you like the approach and style of some of the writers – follow their blogs…


Get ready to rumble!

Next week: We are moving towards the part of the module where you become the curriculum as we attempt to enforce independence on you. That is, we will want you to declare an interest in running a particular event for your fellow #becomingeducational students. We are modelling the process first. In W21 we have two events for you that you need to attend!! This is not optional – these are both part of your experiential course work.

Tuesday 4th March is the Get Ahead Conference Not only are some of your fellow students presenting (and so you MUST support them!!!) we want you to experience the conference as participant observers (as you did with your roving around the University – exploring it as a series of learning spaces). As you experience the conference ask yourselves what you like about it – what works… Also – consider what does not appeal to you so much – ask yourself why that might be. Why does it not seem to work? Consider what you can learn from an event like that both to shape you as an empowering educationalist and to help you design a great interactive session for your fellow Becoming students.

Wednesday 5th March – in our session – we have organised a Music Improvisation session. Again, we want you to come and experience it – lose yourself in it – hopefully enjoy it… and also consider it as a model for YOUR #becomingeducational workshop.

Basically we want you (possibly in small groups) to declare an interest in designing and running a two-hour interactive workshop for your fellow students. We think these could build on the theme of Creativity for Learning – so you may want to run a Dance w/shop or a Drama one… You may want to run another Art session – or perhaps your creativity has a more practical/technical direction and you want us all to design, build and race Go-Karts… We really do not mind what the idea is as long as it is something that interests you – and you want it to interest us.

#rhizo14: The Community is the curriculum – and so are you

Here to inspire you is a little bit of thought and theory from #rhzo14 taken from this blog:

How do we teach ourselves into uselessness?
How do we empower people so they have the PERMISSION to learn without us?

With these final course questions, Dave Cormier challenges educators to further re-imagine their roles in learning and the nature of learning itself. Who holds power if we empower learners to deeply and critically learn? Power is distributed and exists in the strength of the community.

Rhizo14 has challenged us to cheat to learn if need be and to challenge the structures of power;  to create learning environments that enforce responsible independence; to encourage questioning  and to embrace the uncertainty of infinite goals; to question the canons of written texts (Books making us stupid) particularly in light of the participatory connectivity and immediacy offered by orality; to become the curriculum as a community; and finally, to empower learners to learn without us.

If the community is the curriculum and if knowledge exists in digital and human-connected networks and nodes, and if being is about becoming through the connections that we make, then distributed power strengthens us through participation and sharing and creation. Like the rhizome, growth extends unpredictably, and continues even if cut off from its original source.

As a teacher, I know I’ve consciously tried to create learning tasks that extend beyond my teaching and the classroom. That was more difficult before the Internet. When the notion was more that the teacher was the centre of learning and the centre of knowledge, dependence was created and enforced as a way of classroom management and teaching of authority and power. I think the gradual release of responsibility has different rates of release and requires our good judgement to know when to get out of the way.

After 25 years of teaching, there are things that I need to unlearn. In Cathy Davidson’s MOOC on the history and future of education, she talks about unlearning as “the ability to just take change… as a challenge we can meet.”

Changing our notions of knowledge and learning creates risk for both teachers and students. Jenny Mackness writes about the need for intellectual, practical, and “being” spaces in curriculum. How do we find a balance between open and closed spaces? Keith Hammon tell us that, “The problem with traditional education is that it makes almost no room for space. ” Afraj Gill argues that, “There’s a psychosocial dynamic of not questioning current practices of education.” In seeing the possibilities and potentialities in spaces, I like Keith’s soccer analogy:

…within the open space of the soccer pitch, almost any-thing can emerge, or happen. However, once the ball is played into that space and players engage the space, most of the possibilities that could have happened are eliminated. Now, the game closes, defines, that once open space, and potentialities along with power emerge. The location, trajectory, and pace of the ball and the arrangement, trajectories, and skills of the various players define the open space, closing off most of what had been possible in that space, and the potential takes over from the possible.

We know there are boundaries within the teaching profession, but there is much open space that we need to and can explore. Opening spaces for learners empowers them. Once on the field, the coach needs to let the players play.

Thank you, Dave for lighting the fire for us to gather around to find our bearings. I’ve really enjoyed the blogs and discussions around learning that have been part of the #rhizo14 community. This was my first MOOC (that wasn’t really a MOOC).

And finally, I’ll leave you with one of Crane’s wonderfully enigmatic poems to further encourage the active creation of uncertain learning spaces for communities of learners.

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never –
“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.
Stephen Crane

Week 3 #Rhizo 14: Uncertainty, Hedgehogs, Compasses and a Yoruba Trickster god

#becomingeducational – getting ready for W20 – more projects are coming!! So how do we educate for uncertainty – for no easy answers – for change so fast we’re in danger of forgetting what we know…???


Disclaimer: I am one of those people that doesn’t really answer Dave’s questions.  Read no further if you are looking for useful information.  I proceed to unanswer his questions.

“It’s better to go into the world half-cocked
than not to go into the world at all.”

James Hillman

For some oddly rhizomatic reason, I started thinking about hedgehogs on Monday evening.  Mostly because as an introvert, I often feel like one, but in retrospect I see it as a kind of thread that I can weave into an answer to one of Dave’s provocative questions as a variation of  the “Hedgehog’s Dilema” for Wk 3:

Question 1: How do we make embrace uncertainty in learning? 

Unanswer 1: Here follows a parable by Arthur Schopenhauer from which the “Hedgehog Dilemma” originates:

Screen shot 2014-01-28 at 1.43.20 PM

The original interpretation and meaning of the “Hedgehog Dilemma” appears to be about intimacy and relationships.  There is always…

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rhizo14: stole that poem

#becomingeducation W19 – So they stole that poem – and here’s what they did. This post tells one tale – the others are here:

Explorations in learning

Something that caught my eye last week as I was dipping in and out of rhizo14 was Kevin Hodgson’s (@dogtrax) slam-style poem challenging people to “steal this poem” – to take the words he’d written and recorded, and remix them. This was a riff on the theme of plagiarism, ownership/copyright & remix culture that emerged from the week 1 rhizo14 topic “cheating as learning”. I love his response on so many levels – it’s an awesomely creative and thought provoking exploration of whether taking and remixing someone’s work constitutes as ‘stealing’, beautifully executed. I love the style and I was incredibly intrigued by the questions raised by the poem and his post (which I wrote some initial thoughts on in his blog). I love that he’s inviting (or challenging) people to take his work, explore it, and remix it into something new – it’s a challenge to think…

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On Community as Curriculum & Absolute beginners #rhizo14

W19 ctd even further!
This post explores so many ideas relevant to us as educationalists. How do we foster a sense of community among the diverse people who are our students? How do we engage all of our learners – even the ones who don’t want to engage? How do we set off the busy, fizzy, messy business of real education and real learning? How will we know when we get there? Read this post – tell us what you think!!

Little did I know


Just as week 5 draws to a close, I finally found the time to do some catching up on some ‘fiery’ blog posts, among which are Jenny Mackness’s and Frances Bell’s, and kinda grasped Jaap’s jokingly (or not) warning me about joining #Rhizo14 over half-way through as I did. Apparently, things got a bit messy in the scholar/ignoramus interplay, and funnily (or happy-go-luckily) enough, I myself made a comment on FB in which I expressed my astonishment at the degree of erudition I’d been encountering in the course. I had no idea at the time I made the comment that all that frisson had been developing, although I began to grow suspicious that there was something in between the lines of the hush-hush tone of the replies to my ‘erudite’ comment. “Down with the power structures!” was my humorous reply to the thread. I hadn’t yet lost my innocence…

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