Sharing and discussion of ideas online is grand, but sometimes it misses an opportunity for something beyond – to expand the conversation into the equally rich community that we may never interact with online.
Many of us may be fortunate enough to already have existing networks where sharing ideas about learning naturally sits.
But think beyond that. Not just to your family and friends, acquaintances…think wilder.
To the people you haven’t met yet, and who you may never meet. Those that swirl around your day to day life, as you walk through markets, queue in post offices, access services, wait in bus stop, drink tea in cafes, or sip beer in pubs. Community.
Look around. Look out and beyond the shores of your rhizomatic reach.
These are the wildest edges of your network, beyond even the fields, beyond the neat hedgerows. Sending questions and ideas out into these wild spots, sparking conversations between people who may never usually talk together…this is where change swells and grows.
So, how do you gently spark new conversations in real life, amongst strangers? Prompt conversations about learning that you will never get to hear? How can we send out roots underground to get more people thinking differently, and different people thinking differently, about how we learn and teach?
One idea I quite like, is to explore some low-tech sharing:
- scrawling a quote or a drawing about rhizomatic learning on a napkin and leaving it on the table in your favourite cafe
- writing a message in sand on the beach
- making a bookmark, maybe, hand-drawn and including something that resonated for you from #rhizo14 and slipping it into some educational theory textbooks in your local academic or public library
- print something you have already shared online and leave it in a doctors’ waiting room or community centre on a magazine table
Leave a trace, a trail, an invitation to join the conversation.
I don’t mean advertising, spamming, leaflet drops or neon signs on billboards or anything er, illegal. Nor should we do this in the name of Dave Cormier – that wouldn’t be fair to Dave I don’t think. To be rhizomatic it should be personal, slow, secret, gentle, small, underground – rhizomatic. Just finding a way to share something with a few strangers, something from #rhizo15 that you think is worth sending out into the wild.
Low-tech is only one approach, but I like it because not everyone has access to technology. I also meet people who say they don’t like the thought of being online.. Sometimes these are incredible people with good messages who deliberately shun that connection. This is a free choice of course, everyone should be able to choose to not share online. But if they have an agenda that they seek support for, and want and need diverse ideas and resources, sometimes I like to mention another perspective:
For some people, online communication is not a choice, it is an enabler. Think about those with special needs, the blind or visually impaired, the physically challenged, those without freedom or choice to access society, those for whom adaptive technologies and the internet are a powerful life changing resource- a powerful resource of knowledge, new ideas and community. There are so many reasons that accessing community in-person is difficult for many people. In some way, if you do have a choice to not be online, it is also privilege, and a choice that means many will never have a chance to share in your stories.
So, I like to keep this in mind – that the connection between offline and online community should perhaps be part of every learning experience, to make that experience meaningful. An effort to connect both spheres should somehow happen, . Even if it seems small, negligible.
Will you share beyond #rhizo15, into the #rhizowild?
3 thoughts on “Will you share something that you have learned out into the #rhizowild?”
Hmm… food for thought. Thanks, Angela. I’m thinking about leaving traces, and also about the wider community with their different levels of need/privilege online and offline. And when we are not successful in convincing some people to try online platforms, we might turn around and see others we had not thought about.
I love the idea of leaving traces and thinking beyond the “obvious” online community. Random Acts of Rhizo?
Thanks, Angela. I am often inspired by Quaker pastor Peggy Senger Parsons, who shared years ago her practice of starting conversations with strangers on buses. One of the things I loved about the Occupy movement was that the encampments made a space for conversation between whoever showed up. At first, this was about economic situations that many of us had suffered in silence thinking they were our own shame. Soon, the conversations were about more experiences and ideas, bumping them up against people outside whatever silos our daily lives had constructed.
Experiences like Occupy and Rhizo15 remind me of how much there is to share and learn from each other. I often thought during Occupy that if I were to make a sign, it would say “Listen to each other’s stories.”