Haytime in March
Kevin and I have been to and fro today with some raw materials, words for play like legos. Here is how it went.
First, I did a freewrite as part of Here is a raw freewrite I put in the post.
Hulk no like. That is how I feel sometimes [image of Hulk hanging over my writing space]. I know some folks won’t read because I don’t mince my words. I am not going to brightside you unless I really feel my subject is an optimistic one. Realistically optimistic.
But I really don’t want to be like those Silicon Valley freaks who seek to destroy for the sake of their products and to make money. They are killing our country.
I look down at my screen and think about the bloviations of despair that have flowed from my digital bleedings and wonder if really understand how the world works.I subscribe to the belief that the biggest cynics are also the strongest idealists. I think the cynic’s acid tongue is the direct result of gap between what they see in the world and the way it might be. I have seen stuff work in education, but mostly I have seen it fail. And not just in an experimental way, I have seen it fail all of its principals in so many different ways. We keep foisting the same failures on our students. I don’t mind failing, but failing in the same ways over and over and over again. That I cannot abide. And we all know, the dude abides.
The failures are often very pedestrian. A lesson plan that sort of worked for vanguard but not the most. An experiment that sated my voyeuristic desire to see if my ideas hold water. Mostly not out and out failures. Mostly just null results.
That is the unforgiveable gap that the cynical side of me engenders every day I teach. That is the problem, isn’t it. I teach, they learn. The power dynamics are all fucked up. Students should have most of the power when it comes to learning. They can share that power even to the point of handing over some of that just like an apprentice gives power to a master, but it is their’s to hand over and their’s to revoke.
These are messy, potentially abusive relationships. I can’t even imagine how we could make this work in an institutional setting. One on one? Yes, I can imagine it.
I consider this freewriting above to be the ‘hayfield’, full of grass and forbs and herbs and diverse eating.
Kevin cleaned up the metes and bounds of the pasture with his Notegraphy poem.
I took the first cutting from his “poem hayfield” here.
Then I took a second cutting, what farmers of old called “the aftermath” (very interesting etymology).
And finally all that is left are ‘staubs and stubble‘ for the beasts to graze down.
Below was the original ‘field’ as ‘mapped’ using SnagIt. I started by grabbing a screenshot of Kevin’s Notegraphy poem. Then I simply cut words from that and made “First Cutting”. Next I did the same ‘cutting’ to “Aftermath” by subtracting words. What I was left with was “Staubs and Stubble” Maybe ready to grow again?
It is haytime on the internet. Get the barn ready.
I think that this is what connected learning means. This is a little slice from a timeline extending back and forward. It has alternate timelines built in if others choose to grab this open seed.
It is a powerful metaphor for the kind of learning I want my students to grab with both fists. It is only possible as a world of small pieces loosely joined as Kevin and I have been over recent years.
It is complex, messy, and not amenable to being reproduced. Not intended to be reproduced. It is a unique form all its own and that is what I strive for with my students.
Which brings me back to the original force that drove the freewrite seed to send down roots and true leaves: the power to grow one’s own learning in one’s own way must live mostly in the learner. Any system or institution that does not midwife and husband that growth is not worth the calling of ‘teaching’.
I am including a Hackpad version here for anyone who wants to carry on. Just click on the link and there is an open pasture for you to do with what you will. It has lots of stuff growing there, but you can dig in as you wish and as you will.