Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Everything and Nothing

Another theme floating around the bloggosphere is the question “how do you use media?” A nice thing about the way bloggers share is that we help each other find cool stuff. I suspect that whole "media meme" is just a "brainy" way to ask - "So what cool stuff have you found recently?"

Tony Karrer attempts to flip that into a more educational question – how do you use media these days to support your learning?

My reaction…do we always have to be “learning” something? Geez…that doesn’t sound like much fun. Besides, it’s nice to sit in front of the TV set letting your brain slowly dissolve into a pile of goo as you catch an update of Britney Spears’ latest escapade from her public psychological meltdown.

Admit it – you like mind candy too….

So I’m gonna take a cue from my friend Beau…. He was right when he said that the web (and, really, all forms of information) is full of everything (the important stuff) and nothing (mental junk food).

Everything: Chances are, I read the same blogs you do. All of the stuff on my Google Reader focuses on education, technology, business, and psychology. Eventually, I’ll put a blogroll on my blog. Maybe this spring……

Nothing: After writing the above section, I realized I don’t have any blogs I read solely for “entertainment.” The closest is Scott Adams’ Dilbert Blog. This seems to be where he is expending most of his creative energy these days. You may or may not agree with him, but he sure makes entertaining reading…. I think I need to go look for more “fun” blogs…..

Everything: Netflix is the greatest thing since sliced bread! I’m not a huge movie watcher, nor am I a big fan of series television. As a result, I usually walk away from video rental joints empty-handed. The great thing about Netflix – they have a bunch of stuff I want to watch. Right now: I have a whole bunch of James Burke videos, Joseph Campbell’s interview with Bill Moyers, and a wide collection of PBS documentaries on my Netflix queue.

Nothing: Netflix also has some great documentaries on bands I grew up with – Fugazi, the Pixies, King Crimson, Primus. And they have the Muppet Show! If you have not watched the Muppet Show since you were a kid – you are soooo missing out.

Everything: I’m a huge fan of public libraries….though I’ll be the first to admit that my book consumption has dropped dramatically since my discovery of blogs. I’m a non-fiction freak. I’ll read about almost any subject. One caveat – no more jargony academic tomes. After 4 years of graduate history education, 2 years working on a 2nd masters, and a 75 book a year average (up until this year), I think I’ve earned the right to put down a book if it’s not engaging.

Nothing: Yes – I read fashion magazines. The past few years, it’s pretty much been limited to the September and March issues. I read them to see the stuff I won’t be wearing this season. Despite years of reading these fashion magazines, my fashion sense has not improved (see above picture for case in point). I suspect that if it weren’t for working in a semi-professional environment, I’d probably still be wearing flannel shirts, tank tops, jeans and combat boots. The grunge refugee look.....

Everything: I won a video iPod at the last eLearnDevCon. This little monster is my new commute buddy and another thing that has dropped my book consumption to almost zero. I’ve gotten into this weird habit of starting my day with CNET’s Buzz Out Loud podcast. Great information on technology trends and issues. I also have a lot of NPR programs on my iPod. Shoot, if it weren’t for Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, I probably wouldn’t bother to keep up with current events.

Nothing: Yes…I too have drunk Ze Frank’s kool aid. He is one of us. I love duckies…..

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The amount of information we have at our disposal is daunting.

I have found that it’s easier for me to “consume” information if I have a mental project happening. Something to focus on.

And I think it’s those weird little mental projects that help drive personal learning forward. Even if it is a “nothing” project like finding a good driver. Who knows, I might even be able to apply that to my e-learning life…..

1 comment:

Karyn Romeis said...

"do we always have to be “learning” something? Geez…that doesn’t sound like much fun"

This is what my kids say. But watch a baby coming to grips with some new concept - even if that new thing is his own toes. He investigates it enthusiastically, experiments, tests the boundaries, the possible applications. Watch pre-schoolers learning something new. They're having a ball.

So where is the disconnect? It all seems to come down to formal education. Tiny tots go off to school all zest and enthusiasm, and it takes a few years for the light to fade. By the time they are in their teens, kids think of learning as a burden and a chore. "I hate it!" the declare. Nonsense! Watch them with a new ps2/psp/xbox game. Watch them figure out Myspace, msn. They LOVE learning - what they hate is school.

From the moment I started in the field of training, I determined to show my learners within 5 minutes that they still loved learning by making their experience as different from school as I possibly could.

Now if only we could get it so that school was nothing like school...;-)