Ok, so humor me for a minute here…
Here’s what I LOVE about reading on the Web, when I get into a link flow that dances me from blog to blog, post to connected post and comments, and after about 20 minutes of just letting myself be carried away by the threads of conversations I land on something that makes a small part of my brain blow up in wonder. (This is also, by the way, something that I think too many of us fight when we read online, this idea that if we just let ourselves get caught up in the link trip, reading snippets here and there, scanning there and here, that we’re not really reading deeply somehow. Like my seventh grade English teacher Mrs. Tharp is on my shoulder shaking her head in disdain. It’s just a different depth, I think.)
So bear with me as I try to capture this: somehow I got to Sarah Stewart’s post on the Connectivism course and hopped from there over to this mind-bending post at Mike Bogle’s blog which led me to graze around his site a bit to find this post which sent me to this conversation about Open Educational Resources on Brian Lamb’s site which led me to this comment by Mike Caulfield which provoked me to search for and find this very cool concept of Rip-Mix Learners. Setting aside the beauty of that idea, let’s reflect for a second on that process, one that I’d bet most teachers would dissuade their students from practicing. At every point, my decision to click was motivated by an interest for context, for moving more deeply into the one idea in the maze of stuff that was pulling me most at the moment. I didn’t read half of these posts in their entirety, nor do I feel the need to go back and do so. If I had, I most certainly would not have ended up where I did. And while I know that I just as easily could have ended up someplace even better, I let my interest drive the narrative, not the expectations.
While I’m not suggesting I understand fully the implications of reading in this way, I do know that these flow moments are, on balance, a good thing. I love being lost in it. And it’s almost as if I’ve done this enough to know that if I just give myself to it, the thing I’m supposed to find and learn will eventually make itself known, like it’s finding me somehow. Ok, that may be a bit over the top; suffice to say it’s Zen in a way that I wish all of my moments were.
…this concept of Rip-Mix Learners has my brain taking off in all different directions.:
I’m thinking “Rip-Mix Classrooms” or “Rip-Mix Workshops” or heck, “Rip-Mix Conferences.” I’ve been railing of late at all the paper note talking conference attendees whose observations and reflections and experiences will never be connected after the conference ends. And I know that we’re already doing this to some extent on the conference level and the classroom level (i.e. Darren’s scribes and others.) Problem is, most schools would probably attempt to shut this down and call it cheating, especially if, as this group is doing, they are collecting and adding tests and quizzes to the mix.