Roll up, roll up!


It was the hall of mirrors which did it…This nugget of an idea finally formed into a metaphor which seemed to offer what was needed to represent the chaotic richness of the IDEL course.

The process of putting the Lino together was satisfying and stimulating. Initially, I intended only to use the images and the descriptions explaining why the imagery was appropriate for highlighting and symbolising certain aspects of the course. However, as I immersed myself in this, I started to make connections between readings, blog posts and activities which it seemed appropriate to include. I enjoyed the meta-textual, creative process of putting this together. As Christine noted, it offered an opportunity to take a mind-wander through the activities, readings, thoughts and communications of the past weeks.


With regard to my disengaged teachers, I think that this might be a useful exercise to ask them to undertake. Thinking about how they can represent the changes they and their schools have gone through in the last year might offer opportunities to reflect on successes and failures, on positives and negatives. Hopefully it will also stimulate frank and supportive discussion.

If you’d like to extend the metaphor, you can take a ride on the fairground here.


Imagining our spaces

This week, we have been considering what metaphors we might use to convey our experience of IDEL, how we see the space that we are in, whether we can map it out or represent it in some alternative form, based on a spatial metaphor.

There have been some interesting propositions so far:

Christine has usefully summarised the offerings so far:

Broad Theme Started by… Metaphor/Analogy Representation
EcologyMovement & changeChange & timeConnections 








What’s going on below the surface…


… and how is it represented?

Kelly Ecosystem Image
Karen Starship on journeyDancing – change in steps Story
Lorenzo Pit – showing change process Visual graph
Sai Baby steps – increasing exposureWeb of connections Visual graph + Quicktime
Lisa Caught in the web Image
Lorenzo Knowledge bubbles Image
Mary Maps Image
Susie Sushi bar – digestion + service Image + Thinglink annotation
Sarah MOOcow and body functions Image + annotation
Renee Paperbag princess, hacking at fairytales Images
Chris Space – and a remix of the week’s intro Image, sound, remixed words (Soundcloud)
Andy Binaries  (and rhizomes) QR code
Dorine Object oriented way of thinking Discussion
Discussion themes Questions
Anna Neuroplasticity of the brain Do we process differently?
MaryMary Ownership & control How do we protect students from being exploited?
Skeuomorphism Are our old metaphors no longer working?
Helen Design How do we make a transition to new ways?
Implications for teaching Marie New form of engagement How do students feel?
Karen Role of teacher (in MOOCs) What is a teacher at scale?

Mid-way through the week and I’m still stuck for ideas.


I feel like I’m in a confusing hall of mirrors with half visions and half ideas fragmenting and dispersing.

hall of mirrors

However, maybe I’m just reflecting…



…and and and…

“Why should things be easy to understand?”
– Thomas Pynchon

I’m a fan of postmodernist fiction. I like the game of it, the acknowledgement of itself as a structure, the rejection of the logos, of the author, of meaning. The internet is postmodern: plurivocal and intertextual, ‘cyberspace’ is, as Cousin acknowledges, ‘postmodern because it allows playful and deceitful identity performances…and is labyrinthine rather than linear’ (Cousin, 2005, p.124*).

Cousin proposes the rhizome as a metaphor which encapsulates the characteristics of the internet. Extending and developing the definition of rhizomatic learning proposed by French postmodern theorists Deleuze and Guattari (1987**), ‘rhizomatic learning requires the creation of a context within which the curriculum and knowledge are constructed by contributions made by members of the learning community, and which can be reshaped and reconstructed in a dynamic manner…As Cormier (2010) puts it, ‘the community is the curriculum’ (OpenLearn***).

The tree is the first metaphor which must be rejected as a representation of learning and of the internet. It symbolises a logical branching structure, a singular rootedness, a linear development and a beginning and an end.


Conversely ‘any point of a rhizome can be connected to any other, and must be’ (Cousin, 2005, p. 125). This ‘heterogeneity and connectivity’ (ibid, p.125) facilitates ‘the development of multiple ‘additions’ to a text, as learners post their comments from their own position…’ (ibid, p.125). The rhizome, therefore, establishes a ‘logic of the AND’ (Tapscott, 1998, p.25****).

As Deleuze and Guattari conclude, ‘we are tired of trees’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987, p.25).

Cousin’s article concludes with an evocative statement about the power and potential of a reimagining of learning within less traditional metaphorical boundaries:

‘…the limit (is) beyond the skies, all is possible, the map is the territory, the medium is definitely the message, the message being that all contact, fleeting or sustained, is possible. All identities are fictional to any degree, and all points of departure are available. It is also more playful, more daring and perhaps more dangerous’ (Cousin, 2005, p.127).

*Cousin, G. (2005). Learning from cyberspace in Land, R. and Bayne, S. (eds) Education in cyberspace. London, Routledge-Falmer. pp.117-129.
**Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F, (1987) A Thousand Plateaus, Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press
****Tapscott, D (1998) Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation, New York: McGraw Hill