Digital Literacy and the
Rhizomatic Learner
Dr Fiachra Long
School of Education
University College Cork
Ireland
• Socio-cultural background
• What is rhizomatic knowledge
• Learning Style
• iContact and the posthuman turn
• 6 rhizomat...
 Background
 (Australia) Lankshear, Peters and Knobel, 2000 found
ever increasing use of computers by children
 (Australia) Zevenber...
SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN IRELAND
 Population 4m approx
 2013 1.2m access to
tablet
 2013 1.6m
smartphones
 Blurring of onli...
 Knowledge
 a linear root system and
which develops into a trunk
and branches
 Root and branch study
 X ‘stems from’
 The core an...
 Establishes a starting point
 Builds up a field of knowledge
 Separates knowledge into fields
 Grades material by its...
 a ‘taproot which has ‘a
multiple , lateral, and
circular system
boasting all the tactile
associations that this
connecti...
Begins anywhere
Has become bite sized, incremental, arbitrary
Jumps (expressed in hypertext i.e., not linear or
narrati...
 Learning Style
 Circular, not directional (teleological- linear-logical)
 Blended with ‘media’ or ‘mob’ knowledge
 ‘applied, problem-c...
 ‘to the distress of many adults, children’s
media culture is increasingly
distinguished by a kind of pleasurable
anarchy...
 iContact and the Posthuman turn
 The humble tic
 The spider and the fly
 The cyborg
 Tactile, touch, digit,
digital
 Being in charge of
knowledge by
means of a machine
 Humans enhanced
by machines
 Touc...
• Why touch is the most dangerous
sense
• iConnect as my identity
• Welcome to the Borg
Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC...
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCYrW-G9Y6
 Dr Kevin Warwick
of Reading
University
Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC
17
 6 rhizomatic effects on digital
literacy
 Based on Wright, Andrew (2004), Religion, Education
and Post-Modernity (Londo...
 Dyads (finding/ imposing meaning on the world?)
• Thinking by contrasts
 Left and right
 Up and down
 In and out
 Su...
 The establishing of the principle of
intertextuality where it is not possible to
separate disciplines into discrete
disc...
 An acknowledgement of différance which
indicates not only difference but a
deflection from meaning-making claims
• The s...
 The give and take of appearance, the
fragility of signs, the ‘rature’ or seeming
ambivalence of representation
(Baudrill...
• Socio-cultural background
Is this a paradigm shift in human learning?
• What is rhizomatic knowledge?
It is a new type o...
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DisCo 2013: Fiachra Long - Digital Literacy and the Rhizomatic Learner

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The learning operations of a rhizomatic learner derive largely from new technologies that have now become commonplace to the ‘digital native’. A rhizome can be contrasted with a tree or shrub, which has a linear root system. Normal areas of study are thought to be tree-like when, after an initial point of focus, they develop a single body of content, which branches out as it extends upwards out of the soil. A rhizome, by contrast, begins anywhere and usually at any level and exits anywhere and usually at any level. It is virtually immortal. The focus of this paper is to ask about the literacy implications of rhizomatic learning. It notes three particularly relevant headings, namely, changes to the nature of knowledge with their implications for the challenge of learning, changes in psycho-social responses affecting the seriousness of the learning project, and changes in the character of being as a being-in-touch that affects the identity of young learners.

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DisCo 2013: Fiachra Long - Digital Literacy and the Rhizomatic Learner

  1. 1. Digital Literacy and the Rhizomatic Learner Dr Fiachra Long School of Education University College Cork Ireland
  2. 2. • Socio-cultural background • What is rhizomatic knowledge • Learning Style • iContact and the posthuman turn • 6 rhizomatic effects on digital literacy 2Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC
  3. 3.  Background
  4. 4.  (Australia) Lankshear, Peters and Knobel, 2000 found ever increasing use of computers by children  (Australia) Zevenbergen and Sturt, 2007 put this figure at around 91-92%  (UK) Somekh et al. 2002 –10-12 yr olds spend 3 times the amount of time on their computers as they do at school, 4 times by age 16  (Belgium) Valcke et al. 2011 found that 91.2% of primary school children surf the internet at home  (Ireland) Ipsos Mori Report, 2008 indicate around 90%  (Korea) Sook-Yung andYoung-Gil, 2007 indicate internet use by school-goers at 92.8% Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC 4
  5. 5. SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN IRELAND  Population 4m approx  2013 1.2m access to tablet  2013 1.6m smartphones  Blurring of online and offline worlds  55% of 16-24 year olds said that they could not live without their smartphone  63% of 16-24 year olds said that the last thing they needed to do at nighttime was to check their contacts on Facebook  70% of 16-24 year olds said that they preferred texting to talking  28% of Eircom sample said that they were getting tired of it… Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC 5
  6. 6.  Knowledge
  7. 7.  a linear root system and which develops into a trunk and branches  Root and branch study  X ‘stems from’  The core and the periphery  The linear model  Stable repository of knowledge Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC 7
  8. 8.  Establishes a starting point  Builds up a field of knowledge  Separates knowledge into fields  Grades material by its difficulty  Accepts the guidance of experts  Allows expertise in one field and non-expertise status in other fields  Teacher teaches from a height and with authority
  9. 9.  a ‘taproot which has ‘a multiple , lateral, and circular system boasting all the tactile associations that this connectivity brings’ (Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus (1987, 5) Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC 9
  10. 10. Begins anywhere Has become bite sized, incremental, arbitrary Jumps (expressed in hypertext i.e., not linear or narrative) Time-critical (time of access important) No separation between the ‘disciplines’ - a new form of generalism, a move away from specific disciplines The claim to a generalist expertise that transfers across all disciplines (transfer skills) ‘bricolage’ professional identity (Hatton, 1988) avatar Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC 10
  11. 11.  Learning Style
  12. 12.  Circular, not directional (teleological- linear-logical)  Blended with ‘media’ or ‘mob’ knowledge  ‘applied, problem-centered, transdisciplinary, heterogeneous, hybrid, demand-driven, entrepreneurial, network-embedded…’ (See Le Grange, 2011: 750)  views traditional knowledge as boring and dated  Views progressive learning as too tied to student- centredness  Orthodox expertise can be bypassed  Is distractive (involves play as an important feature)  Can mimic computer games  Drill and skill activities (Watson, 2001; Somekh, 2004)  Exploration games via GoogleEarth, GPS software etc.  Robinson Crusoe-type building activities (Minecraft) Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC 12
  13. 13.  ‘to the distress of many adults, children’s media culture is increasingly distinguished by a kind of pleasurable anarchy and sensuality’ (Buckingham, D. (2007). Beyond Technology: Children's learning in the age of digital culture. Cambridge,UK/ Malden, MA: Polity, 81) Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC 13
  14. 14.  iContact and the Posthuman turn  The humble tic  The spider and the fly  The cyborg
  15. 15.  Tactile, touch, digit, digital  Being in charge of knowledge by means of a machine  Humans enhanced by machines  Touch with a gap; touch without a gap Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC 15
  16. 16. • Why touch is the most dangerous sense • iConnect as my identity • Welcome to the Borg Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC 16
  17. 17.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCYrW-G9Y6  Dr Kevin Warwick of Reading University Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC 17
  18. 18.  6 rhizomatic effects on digital literacy  Based on Wright, Andrew (2004), Religion, Education and Post-Modernity (London/ NewYork: RoutledgeFalmer), p. 34.  A rejection of binary opposites as a way of analysing the world
  19. 19.  Dyads (finding/ imposing meaning on the world?) • Thinking by contrasts  Left and right  Up and down  In and out  Subject imposing on object  Object imposing on subject 19 Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC
  20. 20.  The establishing of the principle of intertextuality where it is not possible to separate disciplines into discrete discourses  The trend towards grafting and thus what is new is grafted on to the old – old institutions with new meanings.
  21. 21.  An acknowledgement of différance which indicates not only difference but a deflection from meaning-making claims • The sense that there is no answer • The sense of complexity preventing any clear view • A recursion to Locke’s principle of ‘tolerance’ and away from truth claims
  22. 22.  The give and take of appearance, the fragility of signs, the ‘rature’ or seeming ambivalence of representation (Baudrillard).  The element of trace –a kind of resemblance or reminder that is as much emotional as cognitive, as much sensory as intellectual
  23. 23. • Socio-cultural background Is this a paradigm shift in human learning? • What is rhizomatic knowledge? It is a new type of knowledge • Learning Style Quite different from before • iContact and the posthuman turn The new dalliance with machine­based life • 6 rhizomatic effects on digital literacy 23Dr F.Long, School of Education UCC

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