My self-directed learning
To be quite honest, I was not extremely excited about the self-directed portion of this calss in the beginning of the semester, but I really did grow to like it and appreciate the freedom and flexibility we were given. I suppose at first I was just expecting to be told what to do, do it meeting the requirements, and then receive my deserved grade. All of this is pretty ironic since my final post ended up being about how this structure is contradictory to learning (more on that later!). IN the end however, I really began to take advantage of the self-directed learning. My favorite activity to do was to visit the special collections of the HBLL. I read the encyclopedia Britannica and a copy of Martin Luther’s original German Bible! I had no idea that these wonderful resources were available to us as students and I appreciate this class for informing me of that. What I appreciate more form this unit however was the work ethic involved. I learned that the more enthusiastic I got into a time period or concept, the more I learned from others as well. Jordan Argyle and Katelyn Dalton always had creative ways to go about the self-directed learning and I appreciated his ideas. I saw that he put time into his learning and then was an eager participator in class discussions. I started to branch out a bit more after noticing this.
My Evolving Project
I had no idea at the beginning of this unit how much my project would evolve! I started with really poorly drawn stick figures on index cards and ended up with a well-integrated and cohesive argument about literacy and education in the 21st century world. My first version was basically a short history of public education, with no real focus, drive, or personal commentary. Amanda DeBuse was the most helpful classmate in regards to commenting on my posts. She helped to shape them and make them follow more closely to the class guidelines. Originally, I was intending on being a part of the communication and collaboration group, arguing that both of these skills are critical for improving education. However, I was thrown for a loop when Dr. Burton put me in information and literacy. I was afraid I would have to start all over! But, Jordan, Jason, and Eli helped me to rework my revised blog post to fit in with this category more cohesively. I eventually turned my final blog post into an argument that a critical aspect of 21st century literacy is being able to reason with one another to reach new conclusions and possibilities and learning, a concept which I applied heavily to the classroom. In the End, Jason, Eli, Jordan, and I were able to pull off a well-rounded and well-integrated thesis of how communication and dialectical thinking are critical tools required for avoiding harmful confirmation bias and sorting through the sea of information we are exposed to
Communication and History
Everyone has always said “history repeats itself!” I guess I have always believed this but never stopped to consider any concrete examples, or if this statement really is true. From this class I have been able to verify for myself that it is. In the first unit of class we spent about two months looking for patterns of one theme throughout a large time span. This helped me to see how our present day and the future are really just representations of what has happened in the past. We will always be seeking to acquire new knowledge, we will always want faster and better technology, our identities will always be in question, and there will always be a conflict between autonomy and control. But more importantly, this class (especially my group project) has taught me that we can change this pattern through communication! I think that Jason Peterson’s final post is the most on point with this concept. He argues that as we engage in dialectical thinking or communicative reasoning, we will be able to avoid the problems of the past to improve future learning and open new doors of possibility.
This whole “change the world” idea seems like a hefty task, and people argue it can't be done. But this class has shown me that we, the rising generation, can be collaborative, we can work in groups, we can meet deadlines and expectations, and we can do hard things. It has taught me that we are up to the task! What is critical is that we do not forget what we learned this semester. We need to remember and apply it if we want a better world to live in tomorrow.