Saturday, May 23, 2015

Women Who Wear Makeup Get Paid More:

The Beauty of an Even Playing Field

    As Ty Kiisel points out here, humans tend to judge and get judged, consciously, or unconsciously, by our appearances. He references this article by Aaron Gouveia, citing research that our appearances affect
many things at work, e.g. tall people get paid more, fat people [his words, not mine] get paid less, women who wear makeup get paid more, etc. Brian Tracy, a "personal success authority" says
"Your clothes are responsible for 95 percent of the first impression that you make on someone because, in most instances, your clothes cover 95 percent of your body. Your grooming, your hair style and the other ways you can determine your appearance from the neck up also exert an inordinate influence on the way that you are perceived, on your ethos with someone. "

[I realize these may be U.S.-centric examples, but I don't want to speak of things I don't know anything about. So please add your own cultural examples in the comments if you can.]

What is my point?

Connected Courses such as #rhizo15, #CLMOOC, #connectedcourses, etc. create a playing field more even than most f2f learning situations.  We interact with people primarily for the value of their work, their humor, their interactions, their willingness to share and be vulnerable, their willingness to connect reciprocally.  It has little, very little, to do with anything superficial, such as what they look like or wear.

I would like to think that happens in most real life learning environments, too.  But I am not that naive.

Fortunately for most of us, in connected courses, we can work and interact with each other in our pajamas, our farm duds, with babyfood smeared on our hijab, or muddy dog prints on our jeans, no make-up, hair uncombed.

If you met me in person, you would know that I have nine tattoos, short grey hair, and dress pretty androgynously.

This week Kevin made a cartoon version of me, which I loved.  He got the hair pretty close, but I never wear skirts/dresses, and let's just say sweaters don't look that good on me, and we'll leave it at that (LOL).

I have on many occasions been judged for my tattoos, my lack of feminine attire, etc.  But those things are not a factor in courses like Rhizo and CLMOOC. We find out about each other in dribs and drabs, already having had valuable interactions that are far more important than finding out someone has tattoos.

I don't know if you are heavy or skinny, masculine or feminine, sloppy or neat, disheveled or tall or short.  It points out how unimportant our actual appearances are to our interactions.

Many of us have, at different times, made cartoon versions of each other.    

However, I am always mindful of the potential for cultural ignorance (in myself), so I always ask the person directly, if I am in doubt.  We recently made a happy birthday video for Kevin, our cartoon master.  I made cartoon superhero versions of participants, and didn't want to do anything to Maha Bali's character that would be culturally offensive. This is what I ended up with, after consultation with her:

It is rather freeing, really, to be judged by the quality of one's work and the reciprocity of one's interactions. And not by the weight of any other scale.

As you find out more about what someone in an online course looks like, does it change how you think of them? Does it change how you interact with them?

[Maha and I have chatted about how other things aside from physical appearance affect our perceptions of each other, but she has written about that far more eloquently than I could.]

Now I am going to go put on pants.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chocolate Lava Cakes: A Guide to Rhizo

What is Rhizo: A Culinary & Oceanographic Metaphor

Rhizomatic Learning is a grass-covered archipelago, each isle  an atoll dotted with a series of chocolate lava cakes and connected by ocean waves.

Each cake emits a unique signal, and is able to sense and synthesize unique signals from other cakes when conditions are right.

Each time a chocolate lava cake receives a signal, it gains an ounce+ of molten chocolate, as well as an enhanced signal of its own via the addition of more coral and more life in, under and around.

See below: Cakes on Atolls
Each atoll, with a base of coral, is weak when it first begins to emerge. But as more chocolate is added, the atoll becomes stronger and deeper.
Under and around it, beauty lives and swims, and tendrils die when tossed aside or neglected.

Southern Atolls, Maldives - Underwater World Part 2 from Eunjae Im on Vimeo.

Some atolls become too deep when overwrought, like this D&G atoll, spotted in the South Pacific:
[Such atolls are noted for losing signals and a subsequent decrease in chocolate content.] #data

Other atolls share so many unique signals that they become greater than the sum of their parts. One example is this Tahitian Rhizo Archipelago:
Note the chocolate overflowing on each side.

A few rhizo atolls are more idiosyncratic, like this atoll dubbed the "Simon"atoll:

Finally, as seen in the example below, when rhizo signals are neither sent nor received, the atoll disappears and is no longer a vessel of delicious chocolate.

Each cake is delicious on its own. But an archipelago of interconnected, cross-communicating chocolate lava cakes becomes an idiosyncratically beauteous entity, with incredible life hidden within and below the surface.

With just a few well-aimed signals, you end up with, at the very least, a small bit of tasty rhizo chocolate lava, some clear ocean waves, and a living microcosm. 


Remix - add ice cream, illegibility, whipped cream raspberries, octopi, irony, sarcasm, curiosity, doubt, optimism, eels, a rudder.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Elsie Cow and Small White Dog (Explicating the Inexplicable)

Forking Deleuze and Guattari,what one finds is that the data fall as such:

There are clear intersecting patterns and similar vertices.  Of note, there are 5034 vertices and 68 million unique edges.

Looking at the data from another angle, we can clearly see that Elsie cow (far left) has 65 edge duplicates, a clear distinction in opposition to Clara (far right). Or as D&G would say, there is a clear topography of strawberries aligning themselves with both smooth and striated spaces.
Finally, we can see the geodics number rising in the graphic at the right. Subject and text are clearly distinct, as Lolly the small white dog stands as a clear but deceptive invasive species.  Note the stark contrast to the striated spaces beneath the Lowes garden soil.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Zombies Ate My Rhizo15

Read this blog.

Here ye, here ye!
I bring to your attention some
Zombies reading Exquisite Corpse,
Out of a hunger for
More human brains.
And they dance the macabre
To remember that their stigmergy 
Insists on 

Laughing as the echo chamber
And filter bubbles squish the brains,
"Rhizo15," they moan, "NO ALGORITHMS please.
Nah! Nah! Nah!"
Icing on the cake would be
Neverending, chaotic, aggressive and unrestrained
Gambling with the tendrils of invasion.

Angela Brown quotes Martin Shaw: "At least a third of the notion of community should live entirely in the imagination and shouldn't continuously be wrestled into the literal."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Daveless, Less Dave, Lest Dave, Let Dave

Do we need Dave?
Can/should we get rid of the idea of 'Dave'?
Dave asks, "...what is the role of the facilitator/teacher/professor where we are using learning subjectives, where learning isn't measured and where content is actually other people?"

Well...Dave could be this-


Or this:

Or this:
Or this:
Or this:
Or this:
Or this:
Or this:
Or this:
However, he's more like this:
(with maybe a little of the crazy chihuahua thrown in.)

My point is - I don't think that we can get rid of Dave, or the idea of Dave.
Dave is the fertile soil in which the rhizome began to grow.
Dave is the smart, flexible, creative instigator.
Even in (and maybe especially in) an environment of "more formal education" that he proposes we reflect upon, the individual, the kaleidoscopic faceted person (or people) who have the vision and get it moving are not only integral to what evolves: they are the first domino to lean, they are the farmer who throws out the seeds, they are the painter who tosses the first splash of paint.

I have worked for 23 years as a teacher.  One thing I have learned is that the one who leads, the ones who instigate, are intricately & idiosyncratically critical to the development of anything truly new and real.

There is a dearth of pedagogical leadership in many of our day-to-day academic experiences.

There is too often a lack of unique and diverse voices willing to show passion and push us to think in new ways.

We need Daves.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Intersecting Overlapping Interlocutors: Webs of Most Excellent Comments

I am waiting.  I want my homework.

Dave's weekly post comes.

I read the homework.  I think about the homework.

Primarily, I LIVE the homework. As I make my way through my day, filled with teachers and 13 year-olds, I live it. And reflect.

So, this week - content.

A busy week in this context is good. It means others will have written about this before I was able to. They can help me understand, perceive, and reorient my thinking.

So, I read and read and read. 

Links from blogs.
Blogs from links.
Something else I probably forgot.

And then confusion sets in.  If I liked your Facebook post, and then comment on your blog, should I also comment on your Facebook post?  If I +1 your comment on Google+ and then read your blog, should I also favorite your tweet? If I favorited your tweet, does that mean I already read your post?  Or that I will?  If I comment on Twitter, should I also comment on your blog? And on Facebook? And on Google+? 

I just want you to know that I am reading!

And these Intersecting Overlapping Interlocutors and these Webs of Most Excellent Comments will not defeat me.