Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Photo Walk

We're going to be taking pictures in class on Thursday -- capturing images on campus that will help you focus on what you really want to learn in the next four years. Obviously, we've read some pretty provocative essays about American education this week -- are colleges really factories? Is creativity drained out of you in first grade?

You'll have a chance to think these questions over on your walk. If you like doing this project, you might want to check out this list of cool photo essays from a digital photography blog I came across. Maybe you'll even want to start a photo-a-week project on your blog.

Turns out, a lot of you are photo lovers. Here are some other interests you listed on your intake:

Jewelry making
Cello, violin
Family History
Digital design
Children's advocacy
Environmental issues
World religions

Looks like we're going to have a pretty awesome year together!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our Writing Goals

This is what our chalkboard looked like on Thursday, September 8, after our first all-class brainstorming session. I asked everyone to make a list of what they expected to write in the next four years of college, followed by a list of skills they'd need to accomplish them.

Anticipated Assignments: a personal resume, a thesis or large research paper, analytical essays, field reports (in education classes, especially), journals, lesson plans, reflections, statements of philosophy, translations, lab reports, blog posts, and spread sheets.

Skills Needed: choosing words and writing concisely, thinking creatively to develop innovative approaches to writing, overcoming fears about big projects, structuring and organizing papers, working from outlines, making time for patience, learning about library and online resources, learning to use style guides for certain disciplines but also developing one's personal writing style, concentratring, punctuating, reviewing grammar, and getting down with citation.

In the coming week, we're going to be examining how we approach learning as a culture and how we, as a class, can drive our own learning to make college an engaging and transformative experience.

If you want a preview, here's an animation we'll watch in class: "Changing Education Paradigms," by Ken Robinson.