Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Final Reflections: Spencer Marks

My self-directed learning:
I loved the format of this part of the class. I enjoyed being able to learn in whatever way we pleased, and felt this greatly enhanced the learning experience. By far, my favorite activity that I did was looking at and handling the Wycliffe Bible in the Special Collections section of the library. I felt like I was turning history in my hands! I also enjoyed being able to look through different, more modern books on the subjects, as well as a movie I watched about Martin Luther. I really appreciate the Luther movie because it made Luther seem so much more real. It used a real quote from him in the beginning and ending scenes, where he is an old man at the end of his life, and where he talks about how the world hates him for doing what is right. He seems very tired and broken down, and I never really thought of him being like that, but it makes sense! He spends his life fighting an institution that controls most of the known world, and which was once an integral part of his life, of course it's going to take a toll! To me, it helped cement his heroic role in my mind, because he really did give everything for God.

My Evolving Project:
My project definitely changed over the course of the semester. I started by looking at critical information consumption, but when I looked at the class, I found that between Jordan Argyle and Eli Hainsworth, everything I'd said was basically covered, so I switched to crowd-funding. The collaboration group that I was part of then had some issues trying to lay down exactly what our central claim was, but then we realized that in a world where many people focus on the disadvantages and the problems which arise from the digital age, we were talking about the great new opportunities and abilities which it gives us. We had this realization as we were watching one of the prototype group movies of the group that was arguing on all the negative effects technology is having on our society. Besides giving us a claim to work with, this actually helped me be a lot more positive in my outlook on technology, and gave me a new paradigm to view it with, not just as something to be watched and guarded against, but as a tool to be used to accomplish grand, previously impossible things.

Communication and History:
Communication is an integral part of history. It not only has a critical role in the events, attitudes, and ideas that make up what we think of as "history", but it also defines the creation of history itself, as we create documentaries, books, articles, and more. We define as "prehistoric" the times before recorded communication existed, and in this way, tacitly accept history as implicitly connected with communication.
Communication shapes events and thinking because it is, in essence, how human beings connect with and affect each other. Ideas like religion, freedom, war and peace are spread and affect the lives of all of us, and this very spread is communication. Peoples opinions on what should be done are shaped in this way, and the people then shape the world around them.
New methods of communication allow people to spread ideas further and more effectively than before. Protestantism would have been dead without the printing press, freedom behind the iron curtain was greatly supported by the radio, and cat videos would have never caught on without youtube. History is then our record, and our stories, about how these things changed the world.
To be honest, entire books could and probably have been written about the interchange between communication and history, but in the end, it can be seen that history and communication are inseparably intertwined. History is how we communicate the stories that happened, which were often caused, affected, or stifled by communication.

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