#Change11 Education and Rhizome – My reflection

After reading Terry’s post alienated from Change 11 MOOC.

“I see the EduPunk culture becoming a very exclusionary technocracy. And to be frank, not one that I really aspire to join. Maybe Moocs are its ‘educational schoolrooms’.”

I have mixed feelings.  On one hand, I reckon most educators would wish to see an improvement in the provision of more equitable and “valuable or quality” education to our learners.  On the other hand, more liberal educators would envision that individual learners should be able to exercise their full autonomy – their choice in their education and learning, the modes and context of study, in preparation of their future career, and life-long learning journey.

So, education is about the provision of choice of learning and study, for people to consider, and to ensure that people would realise the importance of education (and learning) on their life, in the building of personal competencies, capability, and in contributing in the building of a collaborative and cooperative community, and harmonious nation.  We are living in both an individualistic and collective community, and it is both a paradox and a reality, in modern society.

Our mission, as educators and co-learners, (for me) seems to lie with our passion to nurture ourselves, and our next generation, who would be our next “hand-over” in the relay game – under an education system that should be responsive and accountable (and be responsible) to its citizens.

Would it be important to embrace the views of people  coming from a diverse cultural and educational views and perspectives – including the EduPunk, and the scholars, especially in this multicultural global community (MOOC)?   It is an appreciation of diversity of opinions, and a respect of different cultural beliefs that would lead to a “better” education for our future.

What I think is important is: What are the ways to consolidate or resolve those “conflicting values” in a democratic society or community?  MOOC is just one of the platforms to experiment and understand how discourse would occur and ideas be critically examined, debated, and “sublimated” in social media and networks, that could produce fruits for people to enjoy, and to mull over.  Are these ideas generated in MOOC in conflict with the traditional ideas and mindsets?

The perceived Western mindset of colonization has brought along the traditional mindset of education being viewed and often perceived as in preparation of workers, and especially obedient ones to follow instructions, orders, and “soldiers” to comply with the rules and regulations in a system – an education, or business system.   That enforcement is both necessary and essential for the government of a formal system in society.

Are we still adhering and embracing such a set of educational and cultural values, where people are expected to serve the society and business?  This is where education is now in the crossroad of dramatic changes, with reformists urging for reforms, and the introduction of use of social media and technology in formal education and others urging for more training and development of educators in response to those changes.  We have also got Generation X, Y and the after 90s generation all looking for different sorts of education.

Bonnie’s post provides a different perspective about what education is, and should be, and where rhizome stands for the sprouting of ideas in community.

I believe that Bonnie and Dave are right, rhizomes – a metaphor for ideas springing out from individuals, networks, community, institutions are already spreading all over the digital, virtual spaces, and even in society, well beyond the classroom.  There are however fragmented clusters of ideas, networks, well “alive” in the networks and communities, which have their different roots.  These ideas may be amplified or dampened, as they are transmitted across the networks. How would these ideas be adopted and used by the community, as a means of education and curriculum development is still unknown.  The current education system (at least here in Australia) is still built on a standard curriculum structure, with formal educational framework, and so I wonder if a rhizomatic education and learning framework would be likely lying outside our formal education system.

The challenge is: The purpose of education, as perceived by some people is for the preparation of people for work, especially from a governmental lens, in order that people could make a living, through employment, and to compete internationally.  This makes education a responsible act, from a civil societal point of view, to ensure the nurturing of responsible citizen, and to help business and industry, which in turns is the building pillar of society.  This, in itself, could be a way towards developing the societal capital of a nation, in that the more educated and knowledgeable the people are, the healthier and wealthier the citizen would become.

I think no one is denying the importance of education, only that education is not considered to be the burden for the less academically capable people, and that there is a democratic right for people to participate and benefit from a formal education, based on a school system.  I think people are debating on a number of issues confronting education:

1. Whether the existing education system is still relevant to the needs of society, in its pragmatic value, and its alignment with the future vision of society, and expectation of its citizen.

2. What the impacts and implications that new and emerging technology have on education, in the K-12 sectors, and especially in the vocational and higher education system?

3. How should education and learning be envisioned in response to the affordance and  “disruption” due to information technology and social media?

4. Would community as an extension of school education and learning be a solution to this education reform or revolution?

Photo: Flickr Social media classroom

Still pondering.


6 thoughts on “#Change11 Education and Rhizome – My reflection

  1. Ok, John, you got me thinking about these rhizome networks in a different way. Can you envision them being used to intentionally promote some message, rather than their being objectively open to a variety of meanings? I mean, does rhozomatic learning have a moral component (or power focus)? If not necessarily, could it?

  2. Pingback: Cause, function, intention, #change11, accident, coincidence, interpretation, … « connectiv

  3. Hi Jeffrey,
    If my understanding of this is right “A rhizome, sometimes called a creeping rootstalk, is a stem of a plant that sends out roots and shoots as it spreads. It is an image used by D&G to describe the way that ideas are multiple, interconnected and self-replicating. A rhizome has no beginning or end… like the learning process” Then rhizomatic learning relates to ideas (memes) multiplication and propagation along the networks. Dave elaborated that knowledge would be negotiated under rhizomatic learning, negotiation surely would mean a power element in between. Those who have more power in the negotiation process would likely be able to influence the others in coming their “way”. Does rhizomatic learning have a moral component? This is similar to asking if memes are moral, and I suppose moral judgement could be based on Crowd-sourcing and Wisdom of Crowds, rather than individual experts’ judgement. Sounds challenging to authorities and experts, right?

  4. After reading Keith’s post I think I have a totally different understanding and interpretation about rhizome. First, the post by Dave and Bonnie pointed out that it’s the ideas that are like the shoots of the plant. But then Keith mentioned that rhizome is nothing. And he mentioned about the noodles metaphor.

  5. Pingback: #Change11 Education and Rhizome – My reflection | Learner Weblog | Rhizomatic Learning | Scoop.it

  6. Pingback: Farewell to Rhizomes #change11 « Silence and Voice

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