What’s at the End of My Stick? – Impedagogy


This appeared in my Google+ feed this morning. (I get so much inspiration from my G+ communities.) With the advent of an early spring, I used Pablo, my favorite, low friction tool for grabbing images and text and turned it into the image below.


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What is at the growing tip of your neurons? Spring is the time when we crash out of this torpid dormancy and send forth the root cap into the cold, dark soil. Where the hell is your root cap headed?

Root cap – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Did you read the Wikipedia entry? The root cap has “gravity sensors”, it secretes protective slime just ahead of the growth, it might communicate with bacteria. Holy WTF-itude! The ‘rootcap’ of my neurons and glia must be even more complexly connected. What is the story about growth at the end of that stick?

I got the opportunity to think about this when my Writing Project asked me to present at their spring mini-conference. Carte blanche, just so long as I made passing reference to literacy. Here are the potential topics for presentation I send back to them.

When I was walking to the mailbox the other day I stopped to take some pictures with my camera and I wrote a note to myself about some more stuff growing at the end of my stick.

And some more from the previous morning in my journal. “10 Ways I can break smart”

So… I challenge you to answer


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I read Jane Bozarth’s article last week about ‘cargocultery’ and tweeted it out.  I kept returning to it.  I pulled these three questions out of it that I will ask my students next week before they come into conferences about their research projects. I don’t think you can honestly answer them without exposing the true and the bogus.

I do a research project with my students so it is only fair that I ask myself these questions as well. My project is to create a website that acts as a clearinghouse for information about higher education spending cuts in Kentucky.

What have u learned?

Much.  I have learned that I need to post both thoughtful pieces as well as very lightly curated ones.  And the mess in the middle, too.

Cut…Hemorrhaging…Bleeding Out…
and Is Berkeley getting ready to consider a queen sacrifice? | Bryan Alexander I have learned that politicians are rarely concerned with the indirect, the unintended and the long term.  Consequences and effects of this nature rarely show up on their political radar…unless someone points them out. My blog’s purpose, therefore,  has expanded to a specific remit to point out these consequences and effects in other places where higher education funding has been or is being cut.  I have learned that there are larger issues behind the cuts, political hidden agendas.  One of these is an evil turd called “performance-based funding”. I think that our dear leader in Kentucky, his Tea-Partiness Matt Bevin, has a not so veiled plan to bring the hammer down on Kentucky’s universities and to “bring them to heal” (as another politician I don’t like once said).  I have been doing extra research on the loathesome effects of this idea in states where it has been tried. Eventually, this will become a multipart series of longer posts. I have learned much more about persistence and about ‘keeping on’ in the face of no blog readership.  And I have to acknowledge that marketing and getting attention from my faculty peers is just as important as gathering and making sense of information.  Putting the food down where the goats can get to it is rarely enough.

How have u learned it?

I created a blog. I established a twitter presence. I am building a twitter presence. I put together a group space about performance-based funding. I shared this with my boss. I have learned what I know by cultivating online sources. I have learned what I know by finding key spaces like Legiscan. I have learned by devising ways to bring information to me automatically via RSS and Google Alerts. I have learned by being persistent and doing something every day to learn more. I have learned that sharing with others is a great way to learn. I am learning that I need to connect with others to make my learning more full.

Can u show me?

Cui Bono: Higher Education Cuts & Consequences: 26 posts

Legiscan: Following HB303

Kentucky Budget Document 2016–Hypothesis Annotation Invitation

Twitter @telliohied

Budget hashtag: #kybudget

Zotero Group: Performance-based funding

Marketing emails, Google Alerts, Diigo tagging, Hypothes.is annotation.

This is what I want my students to share with me and show me.  If they can’t do this, it is not proof that they are not learning.  Perhaps they are just rebooting and downloading old learning loops, defaults from way back that have succeeded strategically in the past.  That is learning of a sort, but not necessarily the kind of learning that I am interested in promoting.  If you can’t answer these questions with a bit of verve, then I suggest you are not really learning anything new at all.  Why bother? Life is too short to live in confirmed desperation. I also include in this nightmare Thoreau’s warning  “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” Don’t go there. Learn, really learn instead.