Clearly, I had never spent enough time gazing upwards at the night sky.
With carefully trained eyes and an imported telescope by brother was able to recognize the constellations and point them out on his star map.
How much I wanted to be able to have his pattern-recognition-ability, but try as I might I only saw twinkle twinkle little stars, and that was enough.
Constellation, was an image I picked up just now from Kevin Hodgson (@dogtrax) on the connected learning course I have been actively lurking in.
Frankly, it didn't really make an impression on me at all until I started writing this retitled post spurred by Frances Bell's "Reflections on Community in #Rhizo14 - more questions than answers."
As I am writing connections are sparking.
How do other people see the stars, I mean other people apart from my brother and his big blue American map?
That was the thought that just crossed my mind....there a shooting star or a satellite or maybe a divine message?
Where my brother saw bull, the Hopi or the Cherokee saw other patterns.
Their patterns framed their spiritual existence.
Another star discovered with my brother's telescope might have made a blemish in their cultural landscape...
As we have gained better lenses, better telescopes, so we have been able to see the appearance of new
So with social networking graphs, we will be able to get a better view on connections and their movement in the #rhizo14 constellation.
All this brings me to the troublesome question of community.
Where does one draw the 'community lines'? How much do people need to 'care' for each other to be part of a 'community'? Who decides who is in and who is out? What are the criteria? I am getting the distinct impression that 'community' is a problematic pattern which hides more than it reveals.
In the case of #rhizo14 or the rhizomatic learning course, when did the 'community building' start?
In my case, I have not made any particular decision as to whether I am a member of any 'community'.
I have never felt very comfortable with tags, labels, categories for myself. I am very happy to feel attachment, to feel common purpose, to feel valued on my terms, I am interested in learning language to be able to communicate with others, to satisfy my curiosity to learn to play others' games but I don't like being part of a 'guild'.
I find it interesting that Frances writes:
"We also have to beware over-interpreting the views of others and making assumptions about their thoughts and opinions."
Indeed, this connects to my suspicion about 'science' and 'research' - whose story are we telling 'objectively'?
I am intrigued by the search for 'flower-patterns':
"How can we know about all the flowers that bloomed? And some of the ones that failed to thrive or died? Of course, the answer is we can't but we can try to draw in as many flowers as possible..."
How shall we decide on what constitutes a 'flower'? Is it appropriate when studying rhizomes to concentrate on 'flowers'? I remember here an image of Apostolos's of a desert flower and his "creativity in arid environments" week.
If we are to study the 'emergence of community' are we going to be stuck with a particular 'pattern of community' which doesn't necessarily reflect the diverse perspectives of what constitutes 'community' or 'membership to a community'?
Bearing in mind the various 'communities' which Dave Cormier talks about existing in #rhizo14 , I would say that it would be very difficult to determine at which time a person was acting as a member of one or another community, particularly as a tweet for example might include a number of tags #clmooc, #rhizo14 #clavier.
Another problem as to how communities may be defined is the questions of longevity of connection. Heli Nurmi illuminates us on some of the pre-existing connections which existed before the course started. It became clearer and clearer for me as I played in #rhizo14 how these powerful relationships affected activity within the course.
As one gazes at the movement of the stars one gains new interpretations on their relationships. As one moves within the universe, one gains new potential for pattern making.
I am coming now to my own ever changing perspectives.
My secret activity, my pattern-making would have been invisible to all those who would not have noticed that I signed on to the first MOOCs set up by Stephen Downes but did nothing more. Nobody would have read anything that I had written or thought before 2008. They might have seen an anoynmous presence of a reader on their blog.
Nobody would have known that Dave Cormier was fairly early on a distant twinkle in my star-map, in my world. I was not sure at that time whether it was an asteroid...
I can fully relate to Dave Cormier's upset that others took his work as their own.
It was only in 2008 that I decided that I must learn to use others arms to defend and to make public my own perspectives.
Over a period of maybe 5 years I had lurked, I was on the periphery, I followed, I dared to comment on Steve Wheeler's blog 'Learning with e's", and then it built momentum.
I escaped to meet up with other like-minds at the 'Learning without frontiers" conference London in 2011, I learned to use Twitter, I began to build my network, I began to blog...
I have been working with the idea of 'community as a curriculum' for at least 8 or 9 years when I worked at building 'community' with an ever evolving group of unemployed language learners. It has been a constant feature in my pedagogy. These connections, these lines, these patterns are not haphazard, they have meaning for me even if that meaning changes over time, even when scribble emerges as stream of consciousness. Until now these patterns would have been unobservable...even to myself.
Before now, I never had the competences to participate openly in connectivist MOOC's but that doesn't mean that I wasn't participating, it doesn't mean that I wasn't trying to make sense of 'blog', 'network', 'community'...
If I let others tell my story, I am not respecting myself.
Patterns in the sky made visible may be beautiful, may make me dream that I know, but I question the authority of the astronomer who pronounces that mine is a lesser star in the universe. I may question his choice of 'telescope', I may question his obsession with stars when what binds us is darkness.
Science bound? No we are darkness bound.
I am story-teller and researcher, I would like to enable others to share their perspectives, if they will...
There is much beauty in our patchwork existence.