Friday, December 17, 2010

final reflective blog post

This semester has been a good one. I've broken a bit out of the regular format of a class - unorthodox tests, assignments, and discussion sessions have all added to this.

Historical Context

I've been glad that our historical content has been basic, straightforward, and rooted in discussion of the themes and topics and what they represent. The context of this class might be different, since the time period we cover is so much temporally closer to our own time than other Civ courses, but I felt that I was able to better internalize the concepts as a result of discussion. The focus of the class was on questions like, what do you think? How does this change your life? While I also enjoyed my other Civ class, that class helped us learn material through the motivation of very difficult tests which required intense study, while this class helped us learn material through the genuine interest and direct application to our own lives.

Computing Concepts

I've also learned a lot about computing concepts. I get teased sometimes for not knowing much about computers (but I also think it's secretly because the guys want to show they can help me) but this class really broke it down to an appropriate level for my background. I'd heard of a lot (not all, but a lot) of the ideas we covered, and I finally felt like they were explained, instead of taking for granted you were already familiar with them! This was great, a vast improvement over my one experience with a computer science class in high school where the teacher genuinely lacked the ability to break the concepts down for his students. That class was frustrating because I could tell the teacher really did want to teach, and really did want to help us, but he just wasn't sure how to articulate concepts at such a basic level. In this class, I felt this wasn't a problem at all and I was grateful for this confidence-boosting aspect.

Digital Literacy - consume, create, connect

I've used concepts in this class in other areas. I showed Prezi to my fellow physics majors (apparently some major fields are just more familiar with it - my friends in psychology think it's old hat but no one in my physics department had heard of it before). I'm actually planning to apply some of the research from my medical support group evaluation project to my Relief Society calling and perhaps make a blog with an interactive calendar so that people have easy access to know when events are. Making sure they check it is another thing, but this way at least if they lose the handouts they can check online to see when events happen. It's a work in progress and my presidency and I will discuss it further, but it's a real possibility.

Dr. Burton wanted to know if I would continue blogging in the future. That's something I've thought about. The concern is, what would I write about? I don't have anything I feel passionately enough about to want to spread my ideas to the rest of the world only accessible via the web. I also appear (judging by the discouraging lack of comments on this blog and on a personal blog I tried a few years ago) to not even be funny enough to lighten someone's day. If I don't have awesome ideas to share and I can't make someone laugh, what's the purpose of writing? There's more stuff on the web which isn't of use to anyone. It's embarrassing to me how boring my personal blogging is; when I tried it before, it revolved almost exclusively around school and how excited I was when I got assignments done. I mean, that's what I focus on in my life right now. But no one wants to hear about that.

Perhaps one day this will change. Perhaps one day this will be the best way to spread ideas, spread a concept, make people think, teach. Perhaps one day I will have the talent to write to make people laugh. Perhaps one day I'll struggle so much with keeping in touch with my family that they will even be glad to hear the boring things about my life. Perhaps this will happen in the future. But not today. Today, when I want to talk, I am going outside to talk to my friends. Life 3.0.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

do you know what's going to be awesome?

It's going to be awesome when I don't have enough space on my computer screen to see all the things I want to see at once, and I just click it and pull it off the screen and it appears in the air so I can see multiple screens at once.

Technically I have a second monitor that could be used as a screen, but frankly I haven't figured out how to set it up yet because it needs a flat surface and I can just put my laptop on my lap. I would be too worried about knocking it over because I so rarely sit at a desk while I'm on a computer. (Imagine, back in the day they thought computers would never be small enough to fit in homes.)

In any case, that would have been super useful for the purpose of today's blog post, which is to nominate a few blog posts which have exceptionally demonstrated the Learning Outcomes of this class. I really want to pull everyone's blogs out, compare them all at the same time without having to switch screens, and slowly narrow them down from there. But until this technology is available, I'm going to have to sift through blogs only seeing one at a time and having my tab space fill way up. It'll be OK though, guys. Somehow I'll make it through.

My votes:

Computing Content: I like this post by Trevor a while back. I remembered it because I have Windows 7 but was unaware of some of the features demonstrated in his video. I thought it was straightforward, stuff that was easy to remember, useful conveniences, and tools that were useful for many potential readers.

Self-Directed Learning: I first read Madeline's blog when I was assigned to evaluate her work, but I really liked this post. Although I understand math myself, I feel there is sort of an intuition about art which naturally evades me, and I find it very interesting to see someone examining math from the opposite point of view - not understanding the beauty that math brings, but taking her natural artist and trying to describe math with it. I found that very intriguing and something to ponder, since it is such a different point of view than my own and is very well-written and described.

Historical Context: I also liked this post by Sarah because it addressed modernism and how strange it is. I remember from the first Civ class I took that even artists from an earlier period were deliberately designing and painting things strangely, disproportionate on purpose, as a sort of revolt to the focus on Realism, but I feel that this sort of artwork has taken off to greater influence today. She discusses Modernism in this post, and also addresses the question (which I think is funny) of how "modernist" art isn't really contemporary, and there is also a post-modern movement. Isn't modern by definition the currently happening thing? Ah, art. I shall never understand why some people characterize you as they do.