Tag Archives: terry elliott

Shake, rattle and remix, then repeat. The outpouring of creativity in #clmooc when people play

As Terry posted in his blog, one thing led to another and it happened very quickly. Click on the larger image to see how it started. Terry explains it all.


This is Terry Elliott‘s annotation of the interaction between a few of us on Twitter. Yes, an annotation, that’s what I said.

I’ve written it out in linear fashion in case it’s difficult to read from this image.

And very soon Kevin Hodgson was in:

and then Terry played his hand

and back to Kevin

and Terry

Kevin again

Sometimes the comments section of a blog is vital to further annotation. In this case definitely. So following this series of remixes in Kevin’s post, Terry said the following:

What you have documented is connected learning and what Nick Sousanis refers to as unflattening. The messification of the world by increasing “parallax”. My whole argument in the original comic (and I do think of it as a comic) was that reciprocation was one of the requisite initial conditions for any of the connected learning principles and values. What happened yesterday was proof in practice. What I especially liked was that the rising complexity came from the initial conditions of reciprocity just like chaos theory tells us it does. Our web pages are flat but world they live in is multidimensional across time. Or as Sousanis says, upward and downwards not just north,south,east,and west. We’re not in Flatland anymore, Kevin.

Kevin answered with a summary of what he was trying to do, some reflection and a question:

In the post, I tried to purposefully leave out context and let the visual happen. I imagine some will say, “Say, Huh?” when they see it and wonder about the ping-pong effect. I had hoped others might join in but maybe the pace of the shuttling back and forth between media intimidated others. Or maybe it was Sunday and the folks were offline, unplugged. Or maybe they did not have the context for engaging in a media practice that surfaces connected learning. Surely, it was messification.
I’d like to squabble a bit about whether your initial image is a comic or not. It seems more flowcharty to me. But your push to have it viewed as a comic is what had me do the first iteration, in the comic maker. Looking at your first piece, it seems more of a flowchart, pushing things along. But when you called it a “comic,” I looked for panels … and gutters (see later joke) … and shout-out balloons … and characters … but I wonder if we need all that? How defined must our definitions of comics be?
Why did you call it a comic?
Curiouser and curiouser …

Terry again:

Panels, page, comic grammar (albeit spiral with numbers and arrows to help show movement), tweets as dialogue callouts, and a narrative with lots of characters. I think we can call a tweet an identity with a speech bubble without much of a stretch. And the rhetoric is visual not paragraphs although it gets paragraphy at the end. And the idea is, like Sousanis often shows an overall visual metaphor that supports the ideas in the panel–in this case a spiral.

and Kevin

Ok … I get your thinking …. working in a spiral … strike!

I wanted to play but didn’t know how. Terry and Kevin told me they used Snagit but I discovered that it cost quite a bit, and told them so in the following comment:

You two are brilliant. And this is great – the comic battle which happened so fast and now the articulation in the comments section. The reason I didn’t join in is because I’m not as adept at the technical side. Lots of ideas but need time to learn new making skills. Wasn’t prepared to pay $68 for Snagit. I think if my technical/making skills were improved I’d be able to capture the concepts that fly around in my head. Thank you for being brilliant!

In the next couple of comments Terry and Kevin expressed their commitment to inclusiveness in online courses:

This is where danger can creep in … leaving people out who want an entry way in but can’t find the door … Terry and I were building on past experiences via CLMOOC, Rhizowhatever, and more … and could riff … but were others feeling invited in? I know his initial invite was inclusive .. but once I responded, did the world tilt in only one direction?
No need for real answers to those questions … but this is what sits at the back of my mind (it’s a crowded place some days)
Thanks for taking the time to join the conversation here

The only way is to help Tania play the game. The repertoire is not that extensive to get in the game. I think the attitude of play is the one that gets folks hung up. I felt very bad to exclude anyone. No like. Want more messiness in the mix. Want more mix. Gotta get Tania into the game.

And my reply

Ha ha! I will not be defeated by lack of technology. I have 2 and a half offerings. One is a sauce (reduction).


I did a poor version of blackout poetry using a printed copy of one of the remixes. Considering it was late on a school night and the lights interfered with the ipad photo of the printout, it’s surprising anyone can make out anything. Still, I thought, if technology isn’t working for me, I’ll just move across to another possibility.

Then I had a crazy idea: I asked my son (music student) to take a look at the remixed content and, based on the feeling he got from the look of it all, compose something quickly. He (Maxim) said:

What – now?

And I’m like: Oh yes, just something quick, whatever inspires you after looking at these comics. A kind of musical paragraph. And he did. Within 20 minutes I could share his Soundcloud link to a midi version (which he said might suit the comic style more) and the version with Sibelius sounds.  If you look at that one you can see the comments Terry and Kevin have made which are visible in the music itself – very cool.

At this point I went to bed. It was late but I had to force myself to sleep because the creative exchange was so invigorating. In the morning I saw Terry’s remix of Maxim’s audio file.

Terry tweeted it out, saying: Wanted more pinbally busy-ness so I layered maxim soundtracks n2 Popcornmaker–remix?


Well, guess who couldn’t resist the remix? Here’s Kevin’s version, rich with imagery: For Maxim it was a new experience because he assumed music he whipped up would be of no value, and there it was, being listened to and commented on. But wait, there’s more! I also shared the score which was remixed immediately!

The river does not run dry for some people! This could go on and on. In fact, when I tried to explain the whole thing to friends I kept starting somewhere and then saying – no, I’ve got to go back a bit – and then kept going back and back through the rabbit hole. Backwards through the rabbit hole like pressing rewind. Exhilarating. I hope that this documentation is not too confusing, and that it has captured some of that outpouring of creative makes and remixes, that joy which comes from adding another layer, playfully hacking and not knowing when to stop.




#Rhizoradio play is almost ready for lift-off! A multitude of voices (and creativity on the sides)

So, the radio play is finished and will be released very soon in its audio format. Stay tuned…

Thanks to Kevin Hodgson for doing such a brilliant job putting all the audio bits together – it sounds amazing.

Other things also happened – you can’t keep up with the rhizome.  Actually, so much happened while I was sleeping last night:

Autumm Caines created a really neat video promo.

Autumm used the image created by Angela Brown in Pulp-O-Mizer.

Kevin Hodgson used Thinglink for his promo (Oh yeah, Thinglink – I’ve forgotten about this…)

Sarah Honeychurch had fun remixing a popular Christmas tune for her promo.

Here’s the final version of the play (although I wouldn’t be surprised if the Google doc version continues to evolve).

My original story, Mr X loses his battle for objectivity, has been stormed, hacked and now exists as an evolved creation belonging to those playing and learning in the rhizome (#rhizo15). It is no longer mine and that’s a fantastic thing, something I’m excited about. Thank you, everyone, for the experience – in particular to Kevin for putting together the audio files – but also to those contributing voices, to the voices in the chat comments for the evolving Google doc, to those on Twitter and other social media platforms, to the creative people designing promos, and anyone else I’ve forgotten.  I know it sounds as if I’m accepting an Oscar (haha) but I really do want to thank all of you for the fun we’ve had together.

#Rhizoradio presents a radio play courtesy of the #rhizo15 community:

A Multitude of Voices

(aka) Mr X loses his battle for objectivity ( original unevolved title from the original story)

(A one-act play)

Narrator1: This is a play of Ms. Rhizoka’s meeting with Mr. Arborescent.

(knock on the door):

Ms Y1: Good afternoon. Please take a seat. Mr  Arborescent will be with you shortly.

Me0: Thank you.

Inner Voice1: I take a seat and settle into the chair which is terribly uncomfortable. I am too large for the chair and always have been, but I’ve accepted it with the appropriate …

Ms Y2: So, Mr  Arborescent will see you now. I assume you’ve brought your papers.

Me1: Er – papers?

Ms Y3: Yes, your CV, your references, your learning objectives.

Me2: My…

Ms Y4:Never mind. Please go down the corridor. It’s the first red door after blue one…

Me3: Er – thank you.

Inner Voice2: I walk until I find the door. I knock twice.)

Me4: (mumbling to self, wandering hallways) How come there are so many doors here?


(knock on the door followed by sound of door squeaking open)

Mr  Arborescent1: Come in, please. I would like to introduce you to Dr. Certain and Ms. KnowItAll

Inner Voice3: I enter the room. Mr  Arborescent is sitting behind a large wooden desk, studying me. The two other committee members on either side of him.

Mr  Arborescent2: Please, sit down.

Inner Voice4 My Thoughts (in my head)Narrator: I do.

Mr  Arborescent3: So, you’re applying for the rest of your life, are you?

Me5: Ye…

Ms. KnowItAll1: (interrupting) She IS.

Mr  Arborescent4: You realise that you’re one of many millions of applicants – all wanting to keep learning for the rest of their lives, don’t you?

Me6: Yes. I understand. But you know, I myself am multiple…

Mr  Arborescent5: (interrupts) Show me your learning objectives, please.

Me7: Well…I – um…

Dr. Certain1: This is outrageous!

Mr  Arborescent6: (sighs) You do have learning objectives, don’t you? I hope you are not wasting my time.

Me8: N-not exactly.


Mr  Arborescent7: Well how exactly do you intend to get through life without objectives? How will you know where you are going? How will you know when you get there? What data will you use?

Dr. Certain2: One cannot get through life without knowing where one is going. Where one is going is far more important than where one is. I certainly know where I’m going, where I came from, where my children will go.

Inner Voice5: Arborescent’s brow is seriously furrowed.

Me9: Actually – I don’t have objectives but –

Mr  Arborescent8: You realise that we are talking about the rest of your life, don’t you? This is no laughing matter.

Me10: Well – if I could explain. I don’t, as you’ve said, have learning objectives for the rest of my life but what I do have is learning subjectives.

Inner Voice6: The room is silent. Uncomfortably silent.

Mr  Arborescent9: I’m not sure what you’re playing at, but as I’ve already said, there are millions of people applying for this privilege. You’ve come here completely unprepared.

Me11: If I could just explain – I think you will understand that it’s possible to continue learning through life with learning subjectives in place of objectives.

Inner Voice7: Mr  Arborescent lowered his thick rimmed glasses and peered intensely and unpleasantly at me.

Inner Voice8: I continued before he could speak.

Me12: You see, subjectives are a type of objective … only seen from a different perspective.

Mr  Arborescent10: A different perspective! Please explain. (eye rolling) (to himself): Oh, you educators and your theories of learning …

Dr. Certain3: There is only one perspective: the RIGHT one!

Me13 (ignoring Dr. Certain): Well, with objectives you start from the end and work backwards whereas with subjectives you are free to move any which way and even simultaneously. Subjectives  are based on learners’ needs, not dictated as in the objectives… There’s freedom in the journey.

Inner Voice9: Their looks of contempt did not deter me. In fact, they spurred me on. I realized, I had to make them understand.

Me14: You see, I’ve developed an allergy to things which support objectives. Things like preconceived ideas, data entered carefully into spreadsheets, dot points, meta-metrics, the narrow suffocating strangulation of finite theories, that sort of thing. I have an aversion to these things and I become so ill that I am unable to function.

Mr  Arborescent11: I’m not sure our health insurance policy covers such sickness. The government plan only goes so far.

(Ms. KnowItAll adds over Arborescent: Oh, it won’t cover this, I can tell you!)

However, Go on… How would you measure, report your learning? Reveal your rubrics! What kind of standards are you following? Aversion is no justification…

Me15: Neither is measurement! We need to put learning at the center of our…er learning, not measurement and accountability you know. It’s my own learning here and i reserve the right to direct it however I see fit! It is my human right…

Dr. Certain4: Impossible! We will tell you what you need to know!  Learning must be visible!

Inner Voice10: Arborescent’s eyes narrowed, and he started tapping a pencil on his desk. he seemed sort of annoyed at me.

Mr.  Arborescent12: go on…

Inner Voice11: I swallowed.

Me16: (whispering in Egyptian Arabic: w ba3dein ba2aaa)

Me17: I need to approach life in a less organised, predetermined way. I need to include the way I feel, for example, in the way I understand life. I need to include questions and doubts in the way I make sense of things, I need mood changes and I also need to be able to synthesize seemingly illogical things into a new way of seeing. I need to follow – what I refer to as learning subjectives.

Mr  Arborescent13 (all simultaneously): Preposterous! Absolutely preposterous. We need data! Not whimsy feelings! What is this? Some kind of therapy session?

Ms. KnowItAll2: She is completely unsuitable! No idea what she needs to learn.

Dr. Certain5: If we allow this, we invite chaos. Then where will we be? People learning anything?!! Outrageous! There are things everyone MUST know!

Inner Voice12: Their outbursts moved the large desk forward and Arborescent’s four generation family photos fell down with a crash.

Mr. Arborescent14: Now look what you’ve done!

Dr. Certain6: I saw this coming. Chaos, I tell you.

Me18: you do know that by accepting me, you are accepting multiples, right?

Mr. Arborescent15: Who said we were accepting you?

Ms. KnowItAll3: Certainly not I!

Me19: Although I appear as one person to you, I am a multiplicity. Because I am embracing my subjectivity, you will have access to all of the open aspects of my identity and influences beyond my person. Didn’t you notice the different voices, accents and languages used throughout this discussion?

MrA – What you are telling me is that you are rejecting MY good common sense and traditional values and insisting on this groundless faith in what can only be described as blasphemous nonsense. This is a NON-SENSE! Do you hear me?! You will not be able to go through lifelong learning clinging to these asinine beliefs. Get out! All of you!

Inner Voice13: There was only one thing to do. I wasted no time. In my mind I drew a cage around this dreadful man and his colleagues and locked them in. Tossed the key. Walked away.  Their ranting and raving were repulsive. I transformed it into the sound of crashing waves and let it wash away from me, to become nothing in the infinite sea. I left them there in their salt water turbulence, thrashing at the iron bars. They were now but molluscs, doomed to forage in the mud amongst rhizomatic sea grasses for eternity. I had more important things to do. I had a subjective life to lead and I was quite willing and even pleased to not know exactly where I was going.

Inner Voice14: So I started talking to my multiple selves.

MeA: we don’t need them! We don’t need no certified learning! We don’t need no thought control! They don’t even get our weltanschauung. We will continue without them.

MeB: or interdependently! Let’s make our own organization. Our own rhizome. Divide & conquer!

MeC: and wait, to have impact, we need to challenge authority, to break down the institutional structures so more people can benefit from our idea of subjectives and so we can liberate them from these neoliberal chains. This is idtihad. That’s oppression in Arabic. It is zulm. Injustice in Arabic, though it has a much stronger connotation in Arabic.

MeD: i don’t know what you’re talking about, I just wanna have fun with my learning. Let’s write a song or write a play…

Me20: or we could just lead our subjective life, create our own space… We might need to wander a bit to find it.

MeB: exactly! I guess it can be a space not an organization… I don’t think we can convert him. He is too far gone … (sounds of ranting still in the background)

Me21: Learning is  natural and intrinsic… Like a rhizome, like a phoenix..  Her defasında küllerimden doğarım…  learning is actually rising from the ashes… I don’t need any objectives, I only need my subjectives to reborn and start a new cycle of learning…

MeC: and we need to think of ways of liberating the oppressor. We need to fight for other people’s rights… Subvert the system, cause a revolution, plant the seed, nurture the ideas, rewild ourselves without becoming the next oppressors!

MeF: yeah right, like that worked for Egypt…

MeB: Tell me why we wanted that job again?

MeC: I don’t even remember anymore. What a learning experience this has been!

MeG: Hey! You lot are so noisy! I am trying to sleep here! Jeesh. Haud yer wheesht!

MeH: (tentative hesitant self) 爸爸常说 忍一时风平浪静,退一步海阔天空.  怎么办?Should I try to negotiate in this potential zone of change? But these folks are resistant to any new ideas …

MeI: Ils refusent de comprendre! Les abandonner déjà!

Inner Voice15: And so from that moment it continued, with A caged and continuing to splutter in the sea, in a mind, I stood up, breathed deeply, and turned to leave those four walls and walk into the rest of my life. I moved out of the room, slammed the door behind and me and the company sign fell to the floor with a crash. I picked it up and read “Peachson Advanced Testing Systems” and tossed the sign into the trash can. I had better things to do with my life, anyway.


Me22: I did get that job, and I get it again and again every day. It’s only when I forget the contract  I made with myself that day – the subjectives, and get mixed up with too many objectives – that I sometimes see Arborescence rear its head (still in the cage though – haha!).  Fortunately I have some pretty good friends and co-learners who remind me that the book hasn’t been written yet; we just keep writing.


Maha Bali (@Bali_Maha)

Jaap Bosman (@JappSoft)


Angela Brown (@angela_brown)

Autumm Caines (@autumm)

Barry Dyck (@barry_dyck)

Terry Elliott (@telliowkuwp)

Simon Ensor (@sensor63)

Keith Hamon (kwhamon)

Kevin Hodgson (@dogtrax)

Sarah Honeychurch (@NomadWarMachine)

James Kerr (@kerr63)

Yin Wah Kreher (@)yinbk)

Laura Ritchie (@laura)_ritchie)

Ronald Rudolf

Tania Sheko (@taniatorikova)

Please let me know if I’ve left anyone out.


Mr X is hacked by the rhizome #rhizo15 #rhizostorm

After writing Mr X loses his battle for objectivity I was overwhelmed by the response from the #Rhizo15 community through comments on the blog, in the Facebook group, on Twitter and Google+ group.

blog comment sarah

blog comment barry dyck

blog comment keith hamon

blog comment Aaron

I have to admit I felt elated with so much attention but what really excited me was when Terry suggested it would work as a radio play/podcast.

Hello there. My name is Tania Sheko. Thanks for responding so positively to this short piece of fiction/non-fiction. I’m taking up the suggestion to create something for #rhizoradio (suggested by Terry Elliott and seconded by Simon Ensor) and other suggestions to do a collaborative rewrite eg include a larger cast so we can actually (somehow) create a podcast for #rhizoradio (which is going to be a thing I think). Hope you can join me here!

With Maha‘s well earned influence the Google doc I shared was suddenly populated with #Rhizo15 people (and others?) working together across time zones to hack my ‘story’. So many creative people chatting in the margins of the document about what could work.

blog comment terry

blog comment simon ensor

It was fun watching the little animal-head avatars popping up at the top as people joined in. Kevin Hodgson shared some an introduction on SoundCloud and then Simon Ensor  did a brilliant reading of Mr X – who evolved into Mr Arborescent (or just Arborescent, as Laura Ritchie suggested). The ‘me’ character was named Rhizoka and the narrator became an inner voice (voices in the head). The ‘me’ character then exposed a muliplicity of identities and even spoke in more than one language.

Ronald created an introduction and Simon did a brilliant Mr X (or Arborescent) in a British accent.

I don’t think it’s finished but I sure hope it actually gets acted out as a podcast/radio play. Thank you so much to all who jumped in – it’s been amazing! It’s still open so come in and contribute. I saw Maha talking on Twitter about who might be able to create the podcast so I hope someone will because I’m not sure about how to do that.


pink floyd

rhizo pun

Thank you, people! So far Maha Bali, Sarah Honeychurch, Angela Brown, Ronald Rudolf, Kevin Hodgson (@dogtrax), Laura Ritchie, Aras Bozkurt, Keith Hamon, Simon Ensor and Barry Dyck. Hope I haven’t left anyone out.  Let me know if I have.

A great way to start #Rhizo15!