Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Rhizomes and Canons – Week 3 – CCK12

Yes to:

·         Learning without borders – people learning and growing and sharing in ways that interest them and meet their needs and abilities

·         Networking to share and construct knowledge with others

·         Negotiating with others in the learning process

·         Agreeing that experts do not know everything and new ideas and new technologies result in paradigm shifts in learning

·         Accessing information, resources and people in new ways due to the massive shift in technology

·         Decentralizing who is an expert and who controls access to knowledge

·         Considering new ideas!

·         Creating community in new ways

·         Re-examining standard beliefs and practices

Here is a picture I took of a native Ontario wildflower called “Spring Beauty”. It is the first spring wildflower you will see in Ontario forests. It is a rhizomatic plant, spreading and growing throughout the forest floor and showing up where you least expect it – just like networked learning!
And for Hugh McKellar’s interesting insights about books in his “The changing nature of knowledge,” here is a humorous 3-minute video: Medieval Help Desk:

Despite my many “yeses” to this week’s readings, I have a big NO to there never being a canon for anything. While I know this is not a popular concept in modern society, I believe there is some knowledge that is settled and unassailable. To me, technology does not change this type of knowledge, though it can make it easier to share and connect and learn more, but the knowledge does not itself change. For me, this is my faith in God and human love and hope.


  1. Compartir contenidos no necesariamente significa compartir conocimientos. Pero por intenciones no nos quedamos. A propósito del video que compartes, me acordé de uno que vi hace un tiempo. Aquí está el enlace:

  2. Hello! I agree with you, that content sharing does not necessarily mean sharing knowledge. Thanks for posting.

    I’ll try to translate this into Spanish using Google translate.

    ¡Hola! Estoy de acuerdo contigo, que el intercambio de contenidos no significa necesariamente que el intercambio de conocimientos. Gracias por publicar.

  3. Joanne, thanks for all those YESes. That's encouraging. As a person of faith myself, I have great sympathy for your one NO. I think it is human to want some anchors, or canons, in life that we can rely on.

    However, I don't think that rhizomatic thinking is necessarily contrary to those anchors; rather, rhizomatic thinking challenges our habits of naming those deep anchors, such as God. If you recall, the Judeo-Christian tradition teaches us that we are NOT to name God. We are not to signify what God is, for that signification limits God, and God is not be limited. We are to remain open to the infinite ways that God can emerge and relate to us. Other religious traditions guard against naming the Divine. There is something about God that doesn't like Canon Law.

    Rhizomatic thinking implies that education, too, is most reliable, dependable, and accessible when we do not limit it by our overcodes. When we remain open to the patterns that emerge from the connections that we make with people, information, and experiences, then we can learn the most. I have found MOOCs to be a most open-ended educational structure. When we map repeatedly to assess where we are, then we are in dynamic relationship with what we are learning, and we learn more. Nothing seems to close down learning as quickly as sure, certain, and eternal knowledge.

    We define canons and create images of God almost as a necessary mental function, and rhizomatic thinking does not deny this mental expediency, but it does caution us not to confuse these images with the unfolding, emerging reality before us. Our names and images are useful, but they are not reality, and they must be monitored constantly for relevance and reliability. Our engagement with the Divine may be unassailable, but our names for God and images of God should always be open to question. Or so it seems to me.

  4. Dear Keith,

    Thank you SO MUCH for your most thoughtful and profound post. Your post has given me much to think about. Like the Grinch who stole Christmas “I’m puzzling and puzzling 'till my puzzler is sore”. I'm still very much grounded in the fact that my "engagement with the divine is unassailable". And, I'm very much pondering many of your wise words and concepts.