Final Thoughts

When I first started this course I was in chaos. I didn’t really understand the point. Even after the first week and you hear and see several definitions of what a MOOC is and how to participate in one, your mind still rebels. I’m one of those people like Hermione Granger, grades are everything to me. Grades show you are learning something and that you must be a little intellectual. I get quite sad with anything less than an A or 90, whichever formula one uses. So with this class where there are no specific assignments, no papers, no road map, I was lost. It was very frustrating at first. After making it to the end of the course though, I feel this type of learning environment is very beneficial.

To all those who are new to the class, or to anyone coming in the January term, my biggest advice is don’t give up. The point of this course is free learning. Something I wish I had seen in this course while I participated, was more interaction between students taking this course for credit. Learning about one another and making connections is what this class is about. We all have different background stories, each of us must have at least one interesting hobby or story to tell. And those things are what would help spark a discussion and lead on to new learning. The one thing everyone must do is force themselves to make a blog post once a week. And it doesn’t have to be about that weeks topic. Anything is better than nothing. I think this class had real potential, but you cannot make connections and learn all by yourself, or else you wouldn’t be in college. In fact I think more courses should be offered like this. The thing is, while in high school we are molded into thinking in linear terms. Something is either right or wrong. If a teacher doesn’t like your style or your voice in writing, then you will get bad grades, even if your grammar and spelling are spot on. Another problem is we are constantly told what to do. In the “real world”, that’s not how life works. you don’t get tidy directions in life, you don’t always get directions at your job either. A lot of bosses prefer someone who can be given a task and can complete it on their own, and effectively, without the boss have to walk them through it step by step. Most bosses don’t care how you reach the end result, as long as it’s a good result and accomplishes the task they gave you. Creativity is one of the most important things in life. So if you don’t know how to be creative or forge your own path, then this class is right for you. It will push you, frustrate you, and make you want to quit. And that’s when you keep going.

Use this class to learn how to boost your creative skills. Don’t be afraid to try something new and even more importantly, don’t be afraid to fail. Failing at something helps you learn something new about yourself and whatever you are working on. Sometimes failure teaches you better than success. It allows you to see what doesn’t work and makes your mind struggle to find something that will. The weeks topic in this course are just a springboard to get your juices flowing, get you thinking about something new. A class like this can also help you maybe find a new passion, or just help you learn something new. This class has shown me that grades are important, but it’s the effort and thought you put into your work that’s more important. My biggest problem with this class is that I would go off and do a bunch of learning on my own and then forget to come and blog about it. I have a personal blog on a site that wasn’t registered in Grasshopper, so I would forget to use this blog which I setup for class. Another problem I had was posting about the things I enjoyed. I felt like learning is about “useful” knowledge”, but this class is just about learning and connecting in general. There really is no right or wrong. As long as you are participating and trying and putting yourself out there, you are bound to learn and do just fine. Don’t think of this as a class persay. It’s when you put it in that format that you worry over all the little things, like you would in a normal classroom setting. Be more concerned with exploring the things you are interested in and trying to connect with the individuals in the course. Like I said earlier, my biggest annoyance and regret was that we didn’t have enough people fully participating in the course this term. It’s hard to learn and share when no one responds to you or puts forth anything of their own to comment on.

At the end I began to really enjoy the course. After I figured out how to engage in Google Hangouts, it was fun to talk verbally with the others in the course. The final project was pretty fun too. I was nervous while giving it, but it was fun creating the slideshow and sharing something I am passionate about. It was even a learning experience for me, because while I liked the topic I did my presentation on , Japan, I’d never actually fully explored and learned the history and culture of it. I learned quite a lot of interesting things. This course is the motivation one needs to actually put forth more than the minimal effort to learn and be creative. Because of this course I have wanted to get back into being creative, so I’ve found several books on being a more creative person and mixing some spirituality in there. I’m glad I didn’t give up on the course. In my mind I kind of compare it to quitting a substance. The first few days are chaotic, you don’t know what to do with yourself. A few weeks in you feel like you are beginning to understand the flow. Close towards the end you feel like giving it all up and going back to your old ways, and then you get over that final hump and it all clicks into place and it’s easy and enjoyable.

I’m going to keep trying to be creative because I know how important it is in life, no matter what career you are going into. I want to be a successful writer, so creativity is very important. Making connections in my profession is highly important as well, that is if I want my books or whatever I write to sell. I think one of the biggest things about connecting with others is understanding and compassion. You have to realize there are 1000s of different ways to live this life, and we must respect each other, understand where we came from, and meet on common ground. In a world that is becoming more and more interwoven everyday due to technology and social networking sites, we are going to come closer and closer together as a people instead of races. I think one of the greatest things is that there are many cultures, each one unique and different, but once that is peeled away all people pretty much want the same things, friendship, love, happiness, something to look forward to and have a purpose in life. I think technology can be very useful, as long as it’s used right and people are willing to be open.

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Google Hangout

Figured I’d make a blog post as well, just in case people don’t follow facebook fully. I was wondering if anyone wanted to do another Google Hangout this week to discuss and brainstorm ideas for our final presentations. I know I want to do some sort of hands on projects, but not sure on what topic, if I want to focus on being solely creative, do something that would help people communicate, or maybe teach a mini lesson. Any feedback would be highly appreciated, plus I don’t mind helping others. If anyone wants to do a hangout respond to this post of the one I made on the facebook CMC11 page. I do need to know in advance, since we finally have everything ready and we are fully moving into the new house on Saturday. I am pretty busy helping pack and last minute preparations, plus all my final research papers and projects need to be getting started now.

Youth and Creativity

As I was reading the NBC news article, one of the articles provided in this weeks readings, I came across this sentence, “a recent study found that, at least in their playtime, kids are becoming more imaginative.” I honestly have to disagree with that. I grew up with a brother who is seven years my junior and he is incredibly unimaginative. I see more and more, that the earlier you introduce a kid to technology, the less likely they will know how to play on their own, and be able to keep themselves entertained. I see four year olds playing with smart phones and it saddens me. Yes there are a lot of educational apps, but I generally see kids playing mindless simple games, like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja. I must admit these games can be fun and addicting, but I don’t think younger children need to be playing them. Maybe because I grew up right before the technology boom, but I think kids need to get outside and explore their natural environments more. Learn how to build blanket forts under tables and tv trays. Pretend playdoh is food for dolls and stuffed animals. Kids should play with play sets and create stories for their characters and act out situations. When I was a kid I always played by myself and could occupy myself for hours. When my brother was growing up he always needed me to tell him what to do during summer vacations. I would teach him to play house on the old concrete slabs from the old dairy barn. At the time my grandma had a small play house and I would teach him how to play school or run a restaurant. We created potions in old plastic dishes by mixing water and whatever cool seeds and flowers we could find outside around our house and the surrounding fields. I think kids are losing a lot by sitting indoors and playing with electronics all day long. We already know obesity is on the rise and that most youngsters don’t get nearly enough exercise. I know that technology will always be moving forward because that’s the nature of mankind, but I think parents need to be better informed and to not give into society. Technology and toys are becoming so interwoven now that they make toys specifically that are only playable if you have a smartphone and download certain apps. I know that our society is monetary driven, but I just wish people weren’t so susceptible to fall into that trap. I think more effort needs to be put on making electronic and technological toys and whatnot more geared to problem solving, creating original ideas, and focusing on creativity. The toys are mindless while in school they are focused on perfect grades and problems with only one right answer. Both are at the extreme end of the spectrum. We need to get them more even out and focus on both knowledge and creativity equally. Does anyone else see the pattern I am seeing that kids know how to use their imagination less and less, unless play time is fostered and kids encouraged to play with actual toys instead of technology?

FYI

I will be dropping off the face of the planet for the rest of the week. We are beginning to move some of our lesser needed items into the new house tomorrow, along with finishing the deck and any other last minute details. I will then be busy all of Thanksgiving since I am sharing it this year with my mom and my dad’s side of the family. Cheers to trying to eat two dinners in one day, relatively within hours of each other. On Friday an inspector is coming and we are hoping the inspector from the bank can make it as well, so we can officially move in and sleep in the new house by Saturday. Here is to my fingers crossed and asking for positive energy in the universe to bless us. On top of the moving and holiday, I need to buckle down and work on three different research projects, plus come up with a more finalized idea for this classes presentation as well. I hope you all enjoy your holiday and keep in mind what you are thankful for. Once the madness dies down, I’m hoping to get to this weeks readings and make a blog post on Sunday at some point. Here’s also to hoping we get internet. We currently have electricity, but I guess there is a possible set back with the internet or something. Hope it resolves itself before the weekend is out though.

CMC11 Reflection

After replying to a post in the discussions area, I felt like posting my thoughts so far on the course. I’ve made some general posts about this, confusion in the beginning, and just some general thoughts on what we’ve been learning. But I feel it’s time to speak my mind. If any of you knew me in real life you would know that I saw whatever I’m thinking. I am bluntly honest and this can hurt peoples feelings I guess. I am not like most people, feelings do not get in my way. I prefer brutal honesty over a pretty lie. I think the world would be a whole lot different if people always said what was on their minds. Anyways, going off of that, I don’t say things to be mean, I just say them how I see them. After much thinking and going back over what I thought this class would be like I am highly disappointed. We are told that this course is about free learning and sharing with others. Well from my viewpoint, I hardly see anyone participating. It seems there are generally a good handful of tweets throughout the week, and I glance at them, but twitter makes me want to puke and I never understand the tweet to begin with. I tend to click the link and then read on only if it’s interesting. The problem I have is that I am 22 and feel at least 38 on the inside. I am an old soul and always have been, ask my mother. My brain can only get engaged when something new or interesting bumps against it. I rarely see anyone who shares the same ideas or passions with me and if someone does, I haven’t seen them posting. One thing that is frustrating is when I signed up for this class, I thought there would be more to it. It seems like a lot of the link and stuff are from a previous semester, if the class is about continuous learning and adding new ideas and knowledge, everything should have been updated and links should have been checked to see if the article was still available or relevant. I’ve noticed some articles are back from the early 2000s. I was also expecting to participate in activities. In biology classes, there are websites you can go to and dissect a frog virtually, do experiments virtually. I was kind of expecting something along those lines. Solving problems, doing creative things on the web to engage people, to get us all together, creating something, and therefore having an experience we all shared that would help generate ideas and discussions. The problem is, is that we are supposed to use this class to connect, but no one is connecting. It’s like we were given tin cans with the string attached, but the string isn’t taught enough, so no communication is getting through. In the beginning I would email Carol at least once a week making sure I was participating correctly because I need to get a good grade in this class. She would always reply to have fun, yet in her latest post she reminds us about our grades and whatnot. How am I to know if I’m participating in the correct ways? I have never been to a Google hangout because I don’t get the invites and I’m not sure how to even access the hangout. I personally don’t like mainstream technology. I don’t ever use Google, my email is through yahoo and I search using Ask.com. Because of this I’m not familiar with how to even use Google +, so I wish there was a link or how to within the class in order to tell and explain to all students how to go about participating correctly. I have read some interesting articles on here and it has made me branch out and go to my library and check out books on boosting creativity and has given me ideas on how to better my writing (I am a writer), but I just wish there were more activities, more problems to think about, things to create, anything to actually make the class interesting, instead of just reading articles that keep saying creativity is important and school systems suck. I agree with both of those statements, so where are the changes? For all the people mentioning these problems, why hasn’t anything been done about them? If this class is about creativity, why haven’t we done anything creative. It would have been neat to have been given like an idea or statement and then we had to creatively reflect that. Through coloring a picture, making some paper mache object, building something out of popsicle sticks and colored cotton balls. Anything. I love doing crafts, being creative. I guess I want this post to be about showing how I feel and making suggestions for the next class to come to it. The class may be about free learning, but there needs to be organization and structure in the beginning and then slowly wean students off so they are able to go on their own, into the deep and darkness of the internet, to explore, connect, and finds new ideas and ways of thinking. In the beginning the class really did seem promising, people were posting, even though they were confused they were willing to go with the flow. I wonder now why people dropped like flies,what other people’s ideas and thoughts are of this class. I don’t want this post to seem harsh or like it’s a judgement on the course or those who created it, but I think for a MOOC to survive, it needs to be constantly fed, to grow, and to change. It just feels stale, as if it was being created all over again. In order for it to succeed, students need to come in and learn the basics of a MOOC and the course itself, and then be given ways to help the MOOC grow and continue to give it life. Now as the end comes near, I begin to wonder how my grade will turn out, but I fear that I am resigned to getting something pitiful. To me a grade is a reflection of a person, their intellect. I pride myself on being a fast learning, delving into knowledge and taking what I need from it. When I get an A, it is more satisfying than a good meal, usually. I just don’t know where to go from here, but I will say that I am a fighter and I do not like settling for less. So while I may seem pessimistic for thinking I will get a grade less than what I want, I am also not a quitter, so I will keep doing what I can to learn and participate in order to get the grade I want. I hope everyone who is taking this class for credit will read this and please respond. I would really love to hear other thoughts and opinions.

Classical Music

Just now watched the video, thanks for that Carol! Those kids were so darn cute. I absolutely loved the idea. It reminded me how much I actually do like a lot of classical music. The idea to bend your favorite lyrics to the old “beats” is an inventive and fun idea. If this is how I was taught classical music in 7th grade, I most likely would have liked it very much. Instead everything is literal and rigid. I think that’s why I hate school so much. I love learning, reading is one of my biggest hobbies. If I hear something interesting, read a new book, or see a new craft I like, I feel compelled to go research it on the internet, learn all I can about it, and enjoy it even further.

For those who feel like it is hard to make blogs or are unsure what to talk about, if anyone talks about books, writing, animals, or Japan, I will definitely hope in on the discussion, as those are some of my favorite things. For over a year now I have become more and more interested with Japan. Everything about the country interests me. I love the flow of their language, the beauty of their land, the interesting customs they have, I have no begun to love anime and manga. I have always loved Japanese video games, the story lines are so much more interesting and the way the game is played and portrayed is always so unique and engaging. My latest project is trying to figure out the best way to learn Japanese. I would like to be able to afford a visit someday, for at least a month if money permits, and I would like to fully immerse myself in their culture, so I want to have a decent repertoire of Japanese language under my belt. I’ve looked at books in Barnes and Nobles and saw there were disks that helped teach you. I keep wanting to try Rosetta Stone though. It is quite pricey, but I heard their techniques are different than most other programs and that you get great results. Of course there are the negative feedback as well. Due to the price and not being able to sample the Japanese version of the software I have yet to decide if I want to invest in it. But learning Japanese is definitely one of the top things to do on my list.

Sorry this got so far off topic, but it just triggered in my mind once I began writing this post.

Symptoms Of Spiritual Awakening

Upon reading this webpage I was interested to see what the rest of the website was like. I don’t know if anyone else has explored through it yet, but it was highly interesting and relatable to me. I’m not sure if I’m one of these “Indigo” people, but the website definitely sparked an interest to learn more about them. I am a spiritual person, religions are too rigid and hypocritical to me. So now I am going to go poke around in the world of Indigo for a bit.