My Self-Directed Learning
In the first half of the semester, I tried to gain as much insight as possible into the various historical periods using the tools available to me. I found that the weeks that I learned the most was when I talked with actual people or watched interactive videos (TED talks, movies, etc.). I felt that when I did this, I retained more information than just reading articles or books.
In the first two weeks of the semester, I focused on connecting newer ideas with the Boorstin text. I found that by making connections to this text, I was able to draw conclusions about the various time periods effectively. I was originally assigned to read about the evolution of clocks and time-keeping. While we were studying the Industrial Revolution, I made several connections between the evolution of machinery and how it mirrored the evolution of time-keeping.
On January 17th, as described in my learning log, I spoke with my brother-in-law, who is a high school teacher, about Descartes. He did a project on Descartes so he was the perfect person to talk to. I enjoyed relating to him on a deeper level because of the historical discussion we had that day.
Towards the end of January, I began really utilizing videos, especially TED talks and Vimeo. One of the talks that I watched by Monica Lewinsky, I ended up incorporating into my final project.
Throughout the first half of the semester, what was most effective in the learning process was making modern-day connections to the past. I found that as I became more passionate about the themes from history, I became more passionate about the current political atmosphere as well. Since we are in the midst of the election season, this was a timely class for us to engage in.
My Evolving Project
When we began constructing our individual projects, I focused on modern-day muckraking and how the blogosphere has negatively affected our thinking. I did, and still believe, that because of the huge surge in "homemade journalists," the way we accept information, even if it is false, leads to poorly informed opinions. While I still feel passionately about this topic, I realized that it doesn't divide an educated audience and was a bit too narrow for me to expound upon. Also, the nature of our project, contradicted a lot of the points that I brought up in my argument because we are all acting a bit like unqualified journalists.
Later, I decided that I wanted to choose a topic that I still felt strongly about, but that related more into our group project's theme. The topic I chose was how resisting technological change hurts students and children, especially due to the attitudes of the older generations. I strongly feel that if we are not receptive to change, the youth will not be able to be as successful. This idea lended easily into our Digital Society group project which emphasized change and the lack of change in today's world.
Throughout the construction of my individual and our group project, I learned how to blog effectively using intriguing formatting techniques, how to create videos and embed them into a blog post, and how to effectively work in group settings of differing sizes. Besides the historical knowledge I gained in addition to this, I feel that what I learned will be important in my long-term future as I try to incorporate various technological aspects into my career.
Communication and History
Communication is central to history and society for a variety of reasons including: technological and social progress, widespread dissemination of information, and sharing ideas to formulate opinions.
Our ability to record information, pass it down through generations, and draw conclusions, is important in the advancement of society technologically and socially. Each day, we build off of what others have previously discovered. Communication is used to spread information throughout the globe. We see this with the invention of the printing press, railroads, and later, the Internet. These modes of communication help us to connect with others large-scale. Last, we are able to share ideas and formulate opinions. This helps us to relate to others in order to broaden our scope of information.
By studying history, my understanding of the contemporary world has shifted dramatically. I can now draw conclusions about the evolution of ideas and learn from what has worked or failed in the past. For example, in my personal post, I related the resistance to the translation and publication of the Bible to the resistance of accepting technological change today.
Our means of communication affects society in the present in countless ways, many of which we illustrated in our class' overall group project. These ways include progress in education and politics, developing our personal identity, and many others. However, even though I believe technology has helped us overall, there are destructive outcomes such as online safety issues, a loss of interpersonal relationships in real life, and a dangerous reliance on the technology around us.
Hopefully, our group project has been able to shed some light onto the many aspects of the technology-based society we live in. Even though our means of communication changes constantly, we feel optimistic that navigating the digital wilderness is possible and beneficial to our progress.