Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The end and the beginning

This post marks . . .

The end of my Digital Civilizations class and this blog being specifically for that class,
But it is the beginning of where the impacts of this class are going to take me.  

Here is an overview of what I learned in my Digital Civilizations class this semester. For more details about what I learned earlier in the semester check out my previous reflective blog posts Where am I at? and Where this class is taking me.
Historical Content
Although very unique, this class was a history class and I learned a lot about the 15th-21st centuries.  You can find links to many of my blog posts about these time periods in my reflective blog posts listed above.  In this class I learned a lot about these time periods, the people that were involved, and works of art, literature, science, etc. that were created during this time. 

It was fascinating to learn about them in a different way though.  This class allowed for me to learn about these things in the context of today.  This made it so rather than them just being things of the past, they actually still applied today, because they are similar to people, events, and themes that exist today.  When I saw the description for this class as being something like, “Looking at the 15th-21st centuries through the digital lens of today,” I had no idea that there were so many parallels between the past and the digital world, but taking this class changed that.  We don’t just need to learn about the past, to learn it.  We need to learn about and from the past because it still applies today since there are so many parallels to our current world. 

Computing Concepts
Before taking this class, I thought that I was quite comfortable with computers and the digital world.  While I wouldn’t have considered myself a computer geek, I felt like I could get around just fine.  This class opened up an entirely different world for me.  I began to realize just how many digital tools and options are out there.  I began to understand more of the computer terminology that I had heard before, but never really known what it meant.  I learned that there are so many great ways that the digital world can help us learn.

Self-Directed Learning
This class has been an incredible learning experience.  In addition to everything I have learned about the historical periods and computing concepts, this semester I have learned much about learning.  This class required us to be self-directed learners.  This was a challenge for me at first, because this is something that I hadn’t had much experience with it.  I came to understand what it meant to be a self-directed learner and how to be one through the 3 areas of the class that helped us channel our learning: consume, create, and connect.  This structure gave me the foundation I needed as I learned about learning. 
I think that our final projects in this class really captured what self-directed learning means.  Our projects allowed us to take what we have learned about consume, create, and connect and apply it in a real world situation.  I think that's what made our class projects so fascinating, because they didn't only apply to our class...they each had a connection with the real world.  Check out a few of my posts that highlight our project and event! Web 2.0: Our Project, You are Invited, and The Event--Digital Revolution.

In most Civilizations classes you are assigned huge reading assignments from a book.  You simply consume exactly what the professor wants you to and then you are ready to take an exam where you will give it all back.  This class, however, let us consume information that we had found and felt was applicable and important.  Because of this I learned what our professors felt was important (in our reading assignments), but then I had the opportunity to go out and find some related information that I felt was important or that one of my classmates had found.  This class taught me a lot about how to effectively consume information, which is important because there is so much of it out there.  This class also taught me more about the valuable academic resources that are available for free over the internet. 

Digital Literacy Consume labs—As a part of my “consuming” this semester, I learned about many valuable tools to help me consume information.  Below are 2 of those tools that I wrote about on my blog.

·         Creating a screen shot on windows vista
·         Google docs

Now what . . . The things that I have learned about how to consume information in this class are going to have a lasting impact on my education and my learning even after I graduate.  With all of the information that is digitally available, it is important to know how to navigate through all of it and find what you are actually looking for.  This class has helped me learn to do that, and I am excited to continue using the tools and methods that I learned in this class in my future classes and learning.

This class gave me the unique opportunity to create things besides the regular essays and homework assignments that you would expect in a civilizations class.  This class taught me about the many ways that ordinary people can create something, for example a blog.  This was an exciting discovery for me, because I learned that there are so many ways that I can be involved in the creation process of the digital world.  The more I learned about the ways there are to create, the more I wanted to learn.  I began to search out tools that seemed like they would be helpful and found that they already existed and were ready to use. Learning about creating this semester was a lot of fun, because I learned that there are very simple ways to create new things on the internet. 

Digital Literacy Create Labs—As a part of my “creating” this semester, I learned about many valuable tools to help me create.  Below are 3 of those tools that I wrote about on my blog.

·         Make your own online quiz
·         GoAnimate
·         Tweet Tweet

Now what . . . This is in no way a complete list of the things that I learned about how to create during this semester, and I am excited to use the variety of things I learned about in my future classes and even just for fun.  Tools like Prezi and GoAnimate will be so useful for future presentations, whether it be for a class, a job, etc. 

I think that connecting was the part of this class that I least expected, but that I really enjoyed.  When I thought about Digital Civilizations I hadn’t realized that there would be so many opportunities to connect with other people online and in person.  Before this class I had mostly only connected with other people over the internet through email and Facebook.  However, this class taught me about the variety of ways that the internet helps us to connect both for enjoyment and for learning purposes.

Digital Literacy Connect Labs—As a part of my “connecting” this semester, I learned about many valuable tools to help me connect with other people both online and in person.  Below are 2 of those tools that I wrote about on my blog.

Now what . . . The ways that I have learned in this class to connect with people will be continue to be valuable throughout my life.  Using the digital world to connect with other people about learning, events, and really just about anything will be beneficial wherever I am. 

Sum It All Up
Overall, this class has been an amazing experience.  It has really pushed me and required me to develop in new ways.  I am so glad that I took this class, and it has definitely impacted the way that I am going to continue to learn throughout my time at BYU and the rest of my life.

I haven't decided yet if I am going to continue on with this blog or start another one, but I plan to continue blogging because I have found it to be a great way to record and share my learning.  As I looked back over my previous posts, I noticed the wide variety of topics within Digital Civilizations that my posts had been on!  Even if I don't continue to post on this blog, I'm so glad that I have it, and I will continue to refer back to it because it documents my learning in this class.

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