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Decompressing after Podcamp

Perhaps, the most important learning I took home from Podcamp Western Mass is how much a connectivist/rhizomatic perspective aligns with my own thinking. There are two different areas where this struck me.

It felt like Podcamp Western Mass, at least for this year, drifted into presentations to entrepreneurs wanting to learn about social media. I made a tweet to that effect and a person from a non-profit commented it felt that it was too business related and not general enough. How does this relate to rhizmomatic learning? In the first week, we focused on our learning subjectives. Where are we coming from? At Podcamp, this year, it felt very focused on learning objectives. Where do you want to be at the end of the session?

I guess I approach Podcamp from a learning subjective orientation. I go to Podcamp because I want to learn something new, something I don’t know about yet.

Perhaps the most exciting thing I learned about was TechSpring in Springfield. Hopefully, I’ll make it up to some of their events. There big event in May starts the same day that a conference on poetry and church life ends at Yale, so I may go from one to another for an interesting transition.

This brings me back to #rhizo15. It was great to make a couple interesting new connections, and renew some old connections at PodCamp. In many ways, I’ve often considered the success of a conference in terms of the number of new people that I start communicating with on social media. We’ll see how the connections from this year’s podcamp flourish.

Other random stuff. There was a good session on eBook publishing. References to Smashwords, BookBaby, CreateSpace, Kindle Direct Publishing and others. Of particular interest is the idea of using books, and particularly online eBooks, as promotional items.

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#freerangelearning #rhizo15 #pcwm7 Finding Your Tribe

It has been a very long day, spending time in a setting with people who seem to approach life very differently than I do. When I got home, I looked online to connect with people a little bit more like me. Some of this was preparation for Podcamp Western Mass 7, which happens tomorrow. Will parts of my tribe be there? What will we talk about?

I haven’t seen much discussion online this year from people going to Podcamp or topics they are interested in, so we’ll see who is there and what they are interested in.

After this, I hopped over to some of the #rhizo15 discussions. We’ll see if there are folks at Podcamp who are interested in #rhizo15. I suspect there may be a few, which would be cool.

Lisa Chamberlin tweeted,

So how do we reconcile #freerangelearning (my term for "learning is not a countable noun") with reportable results (and funding)? #rhizo15

It turns out that a #freerangelearning has been a pretty active hashtag over the past few years. Perhaps it captures some of the ideas I’ve talked about when I refer to myself as a wandering autodidact. Whatever meaning people are attributing to #freerangelearning I’ll try to do some of it at Podcamp, some of it as part of #Rhizo15, some of it by blogging, some of it by following the hashtag, and, if I get a little free time, I might even do a little light reading of Deleuze and Guattari before bed time.

P.S. Fun tweet from my wanderings "I told them we could measure learning." pic.twitter.com/kf4yWebDe3

#rhizo15 How do you measure a year?

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

This week’s challenge for #rhizo15:

What can we measure that isn’t learning? Think about all the other facets of the human experience… can we do better? What about all the fancy tools we’ve seen… can they help? Should we throw it out all together? Can we help people measure themselves? Is there a better way of looking at it?

My first thought was about all kinds of things we can measure that don’t really tell us much. How many times was the letter ‘E’ used in Dave’s post? How many ovals does can a high school student properly fill in? Well, I guess some people think that the number of ovals that a high school student fills in actually tell us something about how much the student knows or how effective the teacher is, or something like that.

In truths that she learned
Or in times that he cried
In bridges he burned or the way that she died

So let us step away from more academic pursuits. I work in social media. I measure hits on my website. For those who haven’t heard, hits is an acronym for “How Idiots Track Success”. These days, social media ninjas, I think that’s what they call themselves now, talk about engagement.

Many years ago, I was at an online marketing conference where the topic was Return On Investment, or ROI. That’s how people in the world of business like to measure things. I titled my blog post, OMMA: The ROI of a Smile. It is a long and tedious blog post, but it ends off

Too many are still trying to calculate the ROI of being in control, instead of the ROI of a smile.

I don’t remember if it was at that conference or some other where I tweeted the question, “How do you measure engagement?” I expected replies about the number of retweets, likes, or comments. But the best response was from a woman I know who was waiting for someone to pop the question who replied, “the size of the diamond”.

Measure in love
(Measure, measure your life in love)

But back to Dave’s question, “What can we measure that isn’t learning?”

There are things that aren’t learning?

#rhizo15 Reflective Journal - 4/22

Recently, someone posted in the #rhizo15 group on Facebook, that they were 60 years old and guessed that they were one of the older people around. Soon, several people posted about being in their fifties and believing that many of the people in the group were. I wonder what the demographics really are. I also wonder to what extent it really matters. As we construct our online identities, how much do, or should constructs like age, gender, or even species really matter?

I am, however, interested in a different demographic. I get a sense that most of the participants are academics who read Deleuze and Guattari for fun. I imagine the Venn diagraph of academics and people who read D+G for fun. I suspect that the subset of academics that read D+G for fun is pretty small, relatively speaking, and the subset of non-academics that read D+G for fun is even smaller. (Is there anyone else reading this who identify themselves this way?)

As I write this, I suspect that the closest I get to being an academic is being a teaching assistant in the school of hard knocks.

There is also a discussion about the relationship between connectivism and rhizomatic learning. This sounds like a discussion for the academics. For me, I’m curious about the learning that exists outside of academia, that might be rhizomatic, or might be done better rhizomaticly.

How do we learn about political candidates in the twenty first century? How do we learn about what is going on in our government? How does journalism fit into all of this? I’ve kicked around the idea of setting up a learning platform, like Moodle to learn about and discuss legislation being considered in our state legislature.

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