Rhizomes as Weeds and as Salvation

I’m sick for the first week of #rhizome15.

I could feel it coming just as the tweets started up… the sore throat and stuffy head, and two days later, I have energy for little but clicking through the many posts and scrolling through the Twitter feed.

The longer I sit up to read and to write, the lower I slump,  but am energized by what I’m seeing: The sheer joy in learning and creating ,  the humor and generosity in kicking around ideas (50 comments??),  the open and generous sharing.

It’s better than hot tea today.


I designed my own major as a young college student because I had a sense that I didn’t want to be contained by what someone else thought I should know.  I went out on a University Without Walls program so that I wouldn’t have to sit in a classroom to learn. And I took pride in figuring all this out myself, a kid from a small town in the middle of cornfields. All. By. Myself.

Oh, had I known about the connections ahead, about how there’s no pride in isolation when the world is full of funny, generous, smart, musical people who’ll push your thinking over and over. And over.


Until last week I had the dream teaching assignment.  I taught in a cohort teacher education program, so I met with the same students over the course of a year.    We were working toward connection — reading moral philosophy about the ethics of teaching as a public role, always linking blogs and tweets to things we were reading and talking about in class, and then also working with colleagues to translate some of what we were learning from the rich networks we were joining into the other classes in the program (a small digital project here, some video work there).

The students were getting it.

Last week, I found out that while I’m away this year, my colleagues decided that the [small digital project there, some video work there] was enough about “tech” in our program, so they dropped the broader connected learning and teaching seminars from the program curriculum.  There’s no more “this is how we now learn “,  only “this is some of what we learned. Last year. ”

So I am a bit sick over that also, to be sure.

And I’ll be working to rebuild something elsewhere in my School, with other colleagues, so this rhizomatic goodness is coming at a perfect time.


As I scroll through the many emails piling up in my inbox while I sniffle and nap, I’m seeing lively conversation on a faculty listserve in which multiple voices proudly proclaim

that they ban all laptops and mobile devices from their classrooms.

Because of distraction.


Bring on the distraction.

Colliding worlds of subjectives and objectives, with tea and tissue within reach.

I love it.

And I’ll run to catch up when I can breathe again. (I know, I know, there’s no catching up…..)

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4 Responses to Rhizomes as Weeds and as Salvation

  1. HJ.DeWaard says:

    I can almost hear your fever from here! It’s echoing in my ears. As a working mother of 3, I found the only time for myself came when I was sick. You mention the changes in the teaching program – this caught my attention since I teach one of those broad and deep courses in ed.tech. There has to be that ‘collision’ of ideas, concepts, technologies so teacher education students can go broad and deep with ed.tech. Shame that some faculty don’t get that it’s part of what is necessary for teachers today! Maybe rhizo15 will help both of us find ways to wiggle this rhizome into the landscape!
    🙂 Helen


  2. Oh Jane, you poor thing. Hope you feel better soon, and rebuilt bigger and better.


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