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More on #Rhizo15 and Introverts

7 min read

This concept, a generalization that I believe Deleuze would scoff at, sprouted a new tuber in our broken chain of unbroken links. Read the conversation in its closest I could come to recreating: 

It isn't extro or intro, its self-programmable

How can any self-proclaimed introvert or extrovert claim this isn't a place where they can learn. Look at the many landscapes of knowledge this thread traversed. We went from Cain and introverts, through Descartes, to a podcaster a roped in, and landed on Marina Funes of fame.

In the space of trying to figure if we could learn we did learn. I think the difference boils down to what Castells and Cardosa call the self-programmable learner. They argue a network society requires a new network fluidity. I think extroverts and introverts, which I argue are identities we project and have projected upon us, are inconsequential. Both can suck at these distributed learning spaces. I do think many introverts may find these spaces safer, or freeing, to play

Tyranny of Tools

It can be intimidating to watch the number of tools abound in our space. I still stand in awe watching dogtrax work. He has the special sauce. Luckily the tool does not matter. I care not for the medium or mode, but for the message. Yes we do learn how to bend our message with the latest doohickey whatchyamacallit, but you can get your message across in plain text if you desire.

To survive try not to even master all the multimodal meaning making. Enjoy it. Pick one or two mentor texts. Poach ideas. Steal designs. Try to learn one or two new ways to express yourself

Rachel is right. Be out here in your own way. (re)Design your own learning space based on your subjectives. You can survive no matter how you vert.

Tyranny of the Swarm

Someone in another post, brought up swarms. I don't think human swarms are good. I worry if the swarm of folks who travel like locusts from each experience if we crowd out the space. JPG talks about many portals of entry to Affinity Spaces. I hope my backside isn't blocking the door.

Should more experienced self-programmable learners hold back? Or are we simply modeling increased level of participation? I don't know the answer just know I want to help, teach, and learn.

To this end I will be meeting with Rachel and anyone else who wants to learn about how to move to a self-hosted blog. Details to be worked out.

Co-designing self-programmable learners

If you figure this out please tell me. Part of my subjectives.


Metaphors, Representations, and Meanings from #Rhizo15

5 min read

An interesting growth out of . It started with a question on the role of introverts in distributed learning and spread in rhizome fashion into the meaning of language.

I tried my best to organize the thread. You can't do that in Twitter. It's too dependant on user behaivor to build a thread. Want a thread? Join a forum or play in Google+.

Instead think of Twitter as either ephermal or so something you can curate. Arrange the tweets from a "thread" that allows you to (re)design meaning.

In this thread I tried to capture most, I missed some, and the organization is closeish. Welcome to Twitter. Its better just to grab the tweets that shape your meaning and remix them to reshape my meaning.

The Original Introvert Question

In the end I don't think it is just a problem of introverts and extroverts. What we I saw were more tool mediated levels of both discourse and comfort. I think more experienced hands need to get better at letting others feed the conversation before hoping in. It isn't extrovert or introvert but a matter of comfort and multiple portals of entries for participants. A lesson I will try to learn.


Counting Things and Making Things That Count #rhizo15

5 min read

Had a wonderful conversation with Emily Johnson about assessment at AERA. It fits right into the second week of as we discuss counting things. 

I likecounting things. I find factor analysis fun. Regression models are great. I like counting and making things count. 

IEven if I do (try)a qualititative study I will end up counting codes. I will then want to tweak the learning space to see if I can cause a statistical difference in those codes. 

The conversation began with Emily sharing out a slide from Daniel Willingham. I agree  with Willingham that content knowledge = comprehension. I also agree with he and  Robert Pondiscio that reading assessment makes very little sense after basic decoding skills

There are some universal comprehension skills that can and should be taught. Yet the effect sizes of these lessons wane as readers develop greater proficiency. They also rarely transfer to other texts. Michael Fagella-Luby likes to point out that these strategy instruction is critical to special education students. He is right, but strategy instruction should not be the crux of our reading programs.

I spent my doctoral career designinging reading assessments. ThenI had to design and validate seven different measures for my dissertation alone. I don't hate testing. I just think some things essential to schools can't be assessed.

We know reading motivation is a strong predictor of comprehension. Yet the word only appears once in the Common Core State Standards. Why? It is hard to measure.

Even more important is the love of the word. I want the students I teach to have a passion for playing with prose. I want them to have a library of reactionary gifs they can post on topics that matter to them.

I am not sure this is an outcome that can be measured.

My other issue is what happens when you take Willingham's and Pondiscio's position to its ultimate logical conclusion? If content knowledge matters most than someone has to decide what knowledge. No government agency should be in the business of deciding a universal canon of knowledge. We already ignore the counter narrative of People of Color in our schools. We suppress stories of the oppressed. We already ignore the diverse multiliteracies of today's youth. Having a government decide what we need to know is no democracy I want to live in.

I agree here with James Paul Gee that students have islands of knowledge. A very young child maybe able to understand a complex text about Minecraft or about baseball. This is regardless of lexile level but governed by discourses.

Here Emily and I disagreed a little (I think. It is very easy to misconstrue positions and intentions on Twitter). I just do not think the assessment regime schools have lived under since NCLB passage (or since Nation At Risk has been published) have been good for schools. If NAEP scores have been so steady in the era of accountability based reform why are we still wasting billions, possibly trillions, on the same path? Isn't replication the first step in ed research? Don't we have enough evidence that testing does little for schools? Could those billions being used on the bad math of VAM and teacher evaluation be better spent?

So how could we do reading assessment?

What if teachers had a competency based approach to comprehension assessment? I see it somewhat in schools. They have taken the CCSS grade level expectations and made report cards, but schools get these wrong. They often have a four point scale ending in 4, exceeding grade level. My issue, since CCSS are end of the year expectations what are you doing for the child who meets or exceeds this expectation on their report card half way through the year? What about the child who finished last year with meeting the GLE based competency? Why did you move on to the next year? Based on the assessment data we are wasting their time.

These are just some quick thoughts, but I was thinking about , reading comprehension, and the common core. A digital badge is a visual representation of the data behind the image. What if a teacher picked a series of GLE from the CSS and created a learning pathway that could be represented by a badge? The CCSS were never meant to be taught in isolation anyway. 

Teachers could then require the student to reflect on their growth along this pathway. The teacher could also collect and analyze evidence of student growth by tagging evidence in work products or student dialogue and text moves during the work process.

Then the students could be assessed on the vocabulary that matters in the discipline. They could complete concept maps pre and post to measure knowledge growth. These two assessments I am sure would go a long way in predicting how students would comprehend a text in any given disicipline. 

In terms of the harder things to measure: passion, engagement, etc., I do not think they can be counted but they could be cultivated. If you figure


My Subjectivities and Secret Sauce

1 min read

I am interested in learning about the secret sauce in openly distributed learning spaces.



What makes the ideas spreadable?


How do we do it, inspire others, and not go crazy?


There is art to it all. That is the elephant in the room.


What is it about other people that makes them capable of bending the minds of others?