Jay's fondness for "free range learning" appears to have been waylaid back into the barnyard by the polarized feedback he received in Las Vegas. Stephen is appropriately alarmed by the loss this implies for all us chickens. Perhaps I can show the way back to our home on the range.The range is free of additives put into chicken feed. Thus free range chickens are free of coercion, co-optation, confinement and controlled movement.
Every happy chicken knows that continuums are better than positional stances. Chicken Little made his own misery by taking the positional stance of a true believer to insist the "sky is falling". Thinking that free range learning is a question of balance, blending and mashing appears wise. Yet Jay's offering of chicken mash is raising a ruckus and a balance between the henhouse and free range movement seems to be highly objectionable.There is a different problem with farmers who are "pulling a fast one" on us chickens. They take chickens out of the henhouse and show them the barn, saying this is the free range. It's bigger and has more room to maneuver. But it's not free movement or free of the chicken feed with the additives. Less confinement is not free ranging. A free range is really something on its own. It cannot be provided partially or incrementally.
Compared to the henhouse, feed trough or barn, the free range is a paradigm shift. It's not a better henhouse or improved chicken feed. No amount of enhancements to the barnyard will result in a free range. Yet paradigm shifts move forward without looking back. Early cell phone providers had signal strength and interoperability issues to resolve. They did not need to disparage pay phones and landlines to get cell phone use accepted.The technology speaks for itself when a paradigm shifts. The value was evident without pushy sales pitches when CD's replaced tape players, iPods/iTunes replaced CD's and TIVO replaced VCR's. Discontinuous innovations can let the continuous, incremental changes in the obsolete paradigm fall by the wayside. The new paradigm successfully pulls free ranging users into early adoption.
Farmers think chickens won't eat if they are not fed. That's delusional. Chickens feed themselves on the free range. Builders of barns, feed troughs and chicken coops think the free range has to be built too. They've never seen formal structures spring up like a meadow, stand of trees, blogosphere, wiki or social networking site. How could a free range for chickens come about emergently, naturally and ecologically?Free range chickens do more than eat. They take time to digest and cluck about it all. It's a lot like learners who have teachable moments open to new content, unteachable moments open to personal reflection and conversational moments open to new questions. (Thanks for "Teaching Defiance" Harold!) The problem is with the chicken feed from the farmers, not chicken food on the free range.
Free range chickens take on the patterns of wild gamers (pheasant, grouse, guinea hens). The free range is more than where the deer and antelope play. Often is heard a discouraging word. There are griefers and gankers to contend with in their metaverse (wolves, coyotes, foxes). There are both levelers and raiders among the chickens (flocks and roosters). Free range chickens are sufficiently empowered and self reliant to fend for themselves in this vast network of challenges, opportunities and possibilities.Free rangers: Carry On!