My Self Directed Learning
I struggled at first with the independent learning. It was hard for me to be engaged and find things that I was interested in. But as time went on, I began to incorporate the class into my everyday life. The independent learning became fun. I read up on things that had always intrigued me, including the space race, the enclosure movement, and the NASA moon landing footage. It was really cool to explore the special collections such as the History and Fine Press section in the library. I loved seeing how press has evolved from very artistic to a lot more manufactured.
One time when I was studying the twentieth century I decided to listen to some music that I thought reflected the culture of the times. I listened to music by David Bowie and Elton John. I saw a theme in their music of space. I could relate to that so well because I love to try and find themes in music today that reflect themes in the decade they belong to. The self directed learning also inspired me to do things. In February we had a lecture about amateurs that inspired me to do some collage art. I had a lot of fun doing it and learned a lot about how social media can be used to inspire in the 21st Century.
My Evolving Project
While doing some self directed Learning, I read a few excerpts from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous essay, Self Reliance. I read the essay in high school and I remembered that it had changed the way I thought. I based my final project off of an idea that Emerson explores in this essay. He claims that society never advances. I really liked that idea and I wanted to see if it was really true. So I started to research it. At first, I only really used the examples that Emerson gives. I was talking to Eli about my idea though and he said that I needed to find specific examples from history that proved my point. Eli and I would often discuss each others ideas when we were out to lunch so it was always good to have him around. This really helped me develop my ideas a lot better. Eventually I was able to change my claim to say, “an advancement in technology doesn’t equal an advancement in society.”
After the first attempt at our group project, we received a lot of really helpful feedback. For instance, Katelyn mentioned that we didn’t really have a central claim. The next day our group came together and decided on a claim. Once this was established, we could move on in our individual posts and link our ideas back to our group claim. The format of the group and individual posts only improved. As time went on, I found better images, became more experienced in iMovie and better at recognizing what a good blog post looks like. After watching the videos that the “Open vs. Controlled” and the “Digital Age” groups put out, I realized that I wanted our video to have a bit more of a narrative to make it more interesting to watch. Honestly, sometimes throughout I didn’t really know what was expected of me. But, because I was able to see other people’s work and receive feedback, I think I improved greatly each week.
Communication and History
Communication is central to history because it is the only reason we have history. If no one in the past had written anything down, how would we really know what happened? Even with written accounts, can we trust we read? We’ve all heard friends tell stories that change each time they tell them, becoming more exaggerated and further from the truth each time they tell them. Now that we have video and photographic technology history is easier to document. But we still have to chose which parts of history to explore. Communication is so important to society because it allows us to collaborate. Collaboration is key to innovation. Unless you’re a guy like Leonardo da Vinci, you probably can’t do it on your own. We are all capable of coming up with good ideas, but once those ideas are communicated, they are allowed to grow and be added upon.
Throughout the history of the world we see a cultural division. The number one factor that makes an individual feel like they identify with a certain culture is language. While communication binds cultures together so tightly, it also isolates those who don’t speak their language. This is what created such contention between the European settlers and Native Americans. It was a lack of communication. Native Americans signed contracts that they didn’t even understand.
Communication, man to man, has been a major problem ever since the Tower of Babel and probably even before that. It’s impossible to make someone else understand exactly what you’re thinking and feeling. Yes, we talk to each other through language, but maybe other people interpret a certain word or phrase differently than you because of their experience with it. No matter what the method is, we will always struggle with this. We can now text and call each other for across the world. While this may seem like a huge leap in communication, there are so many problems associated with texting. You can’t see body language or hear inflection of the voice through text. Good communication is the solution to many problems we face as a society, who bad communication is the source.