This past weekend, I was in a blog dialogue with “DogBiscuit123” – a bright teaching coach in the midwest. We were discussing the changing nature of work and how it impacted education. In his post, he talked about the arc of change over the past decade, with one-to-one initiatives, BYOD and mobile programs, and an innovative work study program.
“…Last year, the district piloted a program with 28 students in a profession-based instruction program to meet the district goal of college and career readiness. The program has blossomed to over 400 high school students from six neighboring districts… Slowly, we are moving away from mass automation of education to prepare workers for the jobs in the industrial revolution for “learning rebellion” of the knowledge revolution… The Internet can help create a little “communal anarchy” and spur greater institutional change, because learning is about the revolutionary value of discovering new truth, not the control of information.”
I commented that this struck me as “… moving beyond “student-centered” to seeing students as members of a learning network. To me, there is power in rhizomatic learning environments.”
He loved that term and dove in to research it, coming across two of Dave Cormier‘s blog posts:
DogBiscuit123 laid out three visions for students – workers, soldiers, and nomads:
“Workers take accepted knowledge and store it for future reference. They accept that things are true and act accordingly. The soldier acquires more knowledge and becomes responsible for deciding what things are going to be true. The nomads make decisions for themselves. They gather what they need for their own path. I think we should be hoping for nomads.”
“Nomads have the ability to learn rhizomatically, to ‘self-reproduce’, to grow and change ideas as they explore new contexts. They are not looking for ‘the accepted way’, they are not looking to receive instructions, but rather to create.”
…I think that we should be hoping for nomads…
In fact, I think we should be cultivating nomads!
My 30-Day Challenge question for today is:
Day 20 – How can I cultivate knowledge nomads who learn rhizomatically and create their own knowledge domains?
As DogBiscuit123 noted, this idea raises the issue of how higher education can “…re-culture educational organizations away from the organized path of learning to the learner self-mapping culture and continue to prepare learners for the future?” A great question.
How would you respond? Does the metaphor of students as nomads resonate with you?