A Post Rhizo Post – What’s Next?

It’s funny how something gets into your head and keeps moving through your thoughts. Sometimes it’s a good think – one that confirms and encourages. Other times, it’s insidious thinking that shakes your confidence.  Sometimes it’s like the Lambchop song, the one that never ends – it’s just there, rocking through the rhizomes. After my experiences with the Rhizo15 course ended, my learning and connections continued. All along the way, I’m comparing my online experiences with Rhizo 15 where there was no content, no objectives, no exemplars and no assessment. There’s much to be learned about learning in open, digital, fluid, community spaces.

bookMy life is a course! I have continued to rhizomatically and serendipitous learn …. and this is what happens when you let learning find you.

  • I continue writing – focussing on the human elements in electronic teaching and learning spaces, while finding the ‘self’ in what others say, do, present in digital spaces. Through the writing process my ideas become clearer. As I write (and rewrite) my understanding is enhanced and connections become evident. Some of this writing I do within open and collaborative spaces, while some is privately constructed or developed for later publication. I’d like to write collaboratively again, but for now it’s a solitary endeavour. I’m writing about how video can humanize, how being human improves digital communication, and how technology can connect our digital stories.
  • As I explore the area of using video to humanize online learning, I was encouraged by Kendra Grant to explore Touchcast. This digital tool enables interactive video to be created in a whole new way. There is much to discover with this technology and I hope to post about my experiences soon.
  • I serendipitously continue to find links and participate in open, accessible spaces. By following the twitter feed from the HASTAC 2015 Conference I discovered interesting connections to ideas, research, and people applying digital and social media elements to teaching and learning. These connections lead me to my first recorded hangout.
  • I’ve watched and listened to many hangouts before but participating took me to a different place and space while I engaged in new thoughts with new thinkers. This dialogue was with conference participants (Andrea Rehn (@profrehn), Mia Zamora (@MiaZamoraPhD), and Anastasia Salter (@AnaSalter) and those connecting virtually (Autumm Caines (@autumm), Scott Johnson (@SHJ2), Maha Bali (@Bali_Maha),  Rebecca J. Hogue (@rjhogue), and myself. The recording is presented below. The conversation was rich and lots of ideas about teaching and learning were discussed. I suspended my sense of self and location while I became present with others. During this experience, my sense of the ‘digital me’ who is not me, but really is me, resurfaced. Digital identity, online persona, being human within a non-human medium, and how we adapt technologies to humanize rather than digitize learning will continue to be areas of interest. It was interesting to read Beyond Twitter: Virtually Connecting at Conferences since many my own experiences were reflected in this article.

  • After this virtual hangout, the experience of sharing conference experiences beyond the hangout got me thinking about how presence using technology is changing. I came across an article written by Bryan Alexander about attending a conference using a ‘Dobblebot’ (his term). I investigated a little further and contacted Double Robotics to see what this technology does. Within a few days I was test driving a bot from my desk to the secret location of the bot in a room somewhere. A conversation with Jason from Double Robotics helped shift my thinking about the potential for this technology beyond the novelty of remotely operating an iPad/bot around a room or conference. I’d certainly like to extend my experiences with virtual conference attendance in mind.
  • Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 8.46.59 PMMy conference proposal for ECOO BIT15 in the fall of 2015 was accepted. I’ll be sharing a half day workshop titled Inquiry into Digital Storytelling.  This will be an exciting way to share my learning and support the learning of other educators. Now I need to unlearn and relearn how to create an open, unbound, supportive space for educators to explore essential questions about creating, applying, and assessing digital stories.
  • Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 9.06.32 PMI’ve volunteered to work within the professional learning networks through ISTE. The Inclusive Learning Network and the Teacher Education Network will continue to challenge my thinking, support my teaching practice and extend my professional network. Although I can’t attend the upcoming ISTE 2015 Conference, I will participate virtually where and when I can. I’m hoping someone will engage in a hangout (maybe Virtual Connecting will show the way). I’ll also join in remotely to the National Association for Media Literacy Education – NAMLE 2015 Conference since I was scheduled to attend and present but family events come first.
  • My drive and passion for ongoing learning takes me to the CLMOOC space where I will participate and create in a connected and evolving digital knowledge building and sharing space. I’m drawn in by the words ‘making’ and ‘playing’. I’ve presented the ideas of connected learning to students so this will deepen my understanding of what it means, and hopefully shape how I can create this type of experience for my own students.

As I was drafting and rewriting this post, Simon Ensor wrote about Sowing Seeds. His thoughts ring true for me -“Joyfully sow seeds narrowly and widely, nurture saplings, tell stories, share fruit…have a laugh” and “Breezes, spontaneous conversation and social media, even conferences help to carry seed further.” These rhizomatic seeds of learning are spreading further in these early summer breezes. They’ve been planted in my thoughts, in my meandering mind, only to grow in the coming months….. or I’ll just keep spreading more seeds outward. Who knows what comes next?! It’s anyone’s guess!

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3 Responses to A Post Rhizo Post – What’s Next?

  1. Maha Bali says:

    Hey Helen, whar a joyful, energetic post 🙂 We are absolutely happy to help you anyway we can with ISTE. I am testing a bot too (just haven’t had the time to actually login). Did you like it? How would it compare to having a buddy set a time? So bsck to virtuallyconnecting.org – if you would like to find an onsite person willing, Rebecca could give them onsite tips (see how-to on our website) and ًI wrote virtual buddy tips (are you good with google hangouts on air?)

    Good luck! Looking forward to hearing about your experiences with Touchcast. Checking it out now. And will share my experiences with the bot when I get a chance to try it 🙂

    • HJ.DeWaard says:

      The bot experience was challenging – even after reading how Bryan Alexander managed it (read both his posts about it). Because you can raise/lower the bot’s height, it would adapt to standing or sitting positions and would have a steady cam angle. Not sure how GHO would work – worth investigating. You could still do the scheduled meet up. Because you can control the moving around the room, it would heighten the experience of ‘being present’ in the flow of the conference.

      Not sure I’m ready to teach like this video shows, but can see the advantage for students from diverse and distant locations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiW81rAIJCE&feature=youtu.be

      I’m making some connections with people who will be at ISTE to see if we can manage onsite GHO. Would love to work with you and Rebecca on setting this up. I’ve never done a recorded hangout before so would love to learn from your experiences, steps to follow. 🙂

      • Maha Bali says:

        Sure Helen 🙂 it’s actually much easier than I thought. Takes a few secs to set up once u know what u need to do. We could go thru it live together once? If the Google how-to is confusing (which it used to be)

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