Yesterday, Lenandlar Singh posted a link to the Facebook Rhizomatic discussion, The quantified self movement: some sociological perspectives. It is a great article about measurement which relates nicely to the Rhizomatic learning discussion.
It is interesting to think of measurement as an effort to keep things under control. We can measure our exercise, our nutrition, how much sleep we get, and all kinds of different things. We can measure how many problems we solve. We can echo Brene Brown, “life's messy, clean it up, organize it and put it into a bento box.”
Yet I go back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We can measure the lower level needs, physiological and safety. We can measure our grades get into good schools, get good jobs that help us earn money to meet the physiological and safety needs. It might even bring us a little esteem.
But I go back to other parts of Maslow’s hierarchy. I echo Rent and Rhizo, “Measure in love” (and belonging). But how do you measure self-actualization?
Perhaps next I will tackle measurement and mystery, and the realm of part objects and the divine.
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
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?
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.
When I was young, and trying to think of something to do, I would often head into the hallway off of the living room. Across from the coat closet was a land of imagination. On the lower shelves were piles of paper from the paper mill where my aunt worked. I could grab some paper and write or draw. Above these piles of paper were various books. Some were specifically aimed at children. Others were field guides. There were books about birds, flowers, and I’m not sure what all else. Above these books was the encyclopedia.
I would often pull down a volume of the encyclopedia and randomly find a word that I knew nothing about. I would read the article, which would inevitably reference other articles, and I would go from one article to the next. I knew the structure and where to find things, but I didn’t know where I would go, or what I would find.
Later, I would make similar journeys around the town library and eventually the college library in the town where I grew up. Today, another person who grew up in the same town posted on Facebook about the demolition of that library.
"Much of my education happened by wandering the stacks and reading whatever titles sounded interesting."
After college, I spent eight months travelling. My first stop in Europe was Paris. I had “Let’s Go, Europe” which I had read and reread, so I had a sense of the layout of the city. I explored it in a manner similar to how I read articles from the encyclopedia or books from the college library.
When I got online, I approached exploring the Internet in a similar manner, so much so, that I took to referring to myself as a wandering autodidact.
Now, I’m participating in #rhizo15 and everyone is trying to determine subjectives or objectives or whatever. I’ve talked about the value of finding tools and techniques to manage the overwhelming flow of information coming at us. I’ve thought about the developing a love of learning.
Yet perhaps the underlying reason to participate is the same reason writers write, because they must.