Journal 04: October 18, 2008

Today I decided I needed a break from the technical side of blogging, and I wanted to do something a little more creative and fun. To tap into this need for self-expression, I started searching for a few more links to add to my blog–links that clearly communicate the kinds of things that interest me. I found a few I could add, and I spent some time organizing them into categories. I have to admit that I got a little distracted reading some of my favorite websites, but that’s part of the creative process, right?

This process helped me realize that it’s important for our students to have a creative outlet sometimes too and to personalize their assignments. Sometimes, they’ll learn something very valuable–albeit unintentional. That happened to me today too. As I was searching for political websites, I found a great one–factcheck.org, and I spent a lot of time researching the accuracy of claims made by the two presidential candidates. Had it not been for my creativity quest today, I would have never stumbled upon this highly interesting site. It was my personal version of a “teachable moment,” I guess.

I also noticed that as I’ve spent more time and gained more exposure to wordpress in general, I’m learning more vocabulary related to blogging. This is happening accidentally–simply through frequent exposure. This also solidifies my already established belief that learning in context is much more valuable than learning isolated bits of information. I now know, for example, what a tag cloud is–simply by looking at the home page of wordpress.com and then connecting the visual cluster of words I saw with my previous knowledge of “word clouds.” So I guess I’m not only learning in context, but I’m also connecting to prior knowledge. Another educational concept!

I’m amazed at how many connections I’m making between this experience and my professional practice. When I first started this assignment, I didn’t think it would be this eye-opening. I sort of didn’t completely understand the purpose. Now I definitely do.

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