In-depth week 6

Talons learners have just completed week six of their in-depth projects.  They report and reflect on their progress every two weeks. Many recent posts provide the reader with great insight into what we are learning and what we are struggling with.  As we say often in our program, we learn the most when we challenge ourselves. By navigating through these challenges, we become more effective and enriched learners, getting to know ourselves a little more each time.  Our in-depths projects immerse us in one of our passions for a prolonged period of time, not frequently seen in secondary school.

If you have not already figured it out, my in-depth is learning more about technology, especially blogging.  As “teachers” of Talons, we role-model or learn alongside of our program’s participants. In today’s blog, I am trying to figure out how to insert hyperlinks. Inspired by a recent professional development day keynote speaker, Ross Laird, we know technology is here and our youth know how to use it well.  See his website for more informative articles and posts.

He claims that many parents have not adopted the technology that their children are using, so it is up to us, the educators, to become  the learner’s mentors. Learners can access any subject’s content online anywhere and any time. Thus, an educator’s role is shifting from being a lecturer to being a mentor. We support the development of the whole child in Talons and that includes their social and emotional development as well as their intellectual development.

Our in-depth project is all about mentorship, learning alongside an expert and focusing more on skills than content that can just be read in a book or online.  The Talons learner focuses on practical knowledge as well as propositional knowledge, especially during their in-depth.  Learning alongside the other, like an apprentice and master, also provides opportunities for wisdom and intuitive knowledge to be shared during the process.

So with some trepidation I enter the blogging world.  I support Chet Bowers’ work when addressing the negative side of technology in his book, called Let Them Eat Data. For example, he warns us about the loss of local, ecological knowledge.  This local knowledge is often not accessible online; however, it may be a critical piece to the community’s way of living and survival.  

Another author, Bill McKibben dispells the notion that this generation is better informed in his book, called The Age of Missing Information. His argument supports the notion that being outdoors in nature provides us with direct experiences filled with information that no television can provide. He concludes that less is more.  The timing of my thesis is just perfect (more about that another time!).

Technology is here and it is not going to go away any time soon.  How do we balance the use of techonology in schools with all the other worthwhile learning opportunities?

Talons learners explore their passions for learning in their blogs.  I will highlight some of them below and share others in my subsequent blogs.

Learning how to play the guitar is exemplified by Conrad’s blog. Follow his blogs and you can get some awesome instructions!

Becoming more flexible is explored in Chelsea’s blog. She shows us how one can become more flexible as we follow her 30 day flexiblity program.

 Owen’s Blog reports his learning while programming robots. Videos of his robot moving about show us how challenging programming can be.

 Andrew’s blog reflects on his progress in writing HTML code. His latest reflection #3 tells us more about life while learning HTML code in the process.

While dancing through life, Kelly’s blogs reveal her path of self-exploration, giving us a glimpse of what it is like to live and learn every day.

Jennifer S. explores the wilderness using several different modes of transportation. Her tips and travels are revealing a journey that is bigger than just being outdoors, following trails.

Also, trying to become more environmentally conscious, Jennifer A. is trying to reduce her ecological footprint. She shares her suggestions that reduce our impact on this earth.

And lastly for now, how about writing a Shakespearan play using his writing style. Leanne’s blog  illustrates that her passion is worth exploring more and more deeply as well. She is immersing herself in a personal experience that brings together her interests and skills for writing.

And so another blog has been posted.  The links work! My next goal is to learn to embed technology. Be back in two weeks with another in-depth update.

Quirien Mulder ten Kate

Talons Program Mentor

Inspiring a Life of Immersion

Building on recent conversations in Talons, “What do I believe?”, Jacqueline Novogratz’s  TED talk provides another worthwhile perspective.

Here are small sections of her talk that spoke to me.

She states,  “Your job is to be human.”  What is the cost of not trying? We must do what we cannot meaure.  Put yourself in somenone’ s shoes. Live a life of immersion. Make your dreams come true.  Stand on moral ground. One persons’ actions can spread. We need moral leadership and courage in our world. We live a life of fear and sense of otherness, distancing ourselves and living with blame.  Or, we can take the more difficult path of transformation, justice, accountability and compassion.  Stand  up for change.

We need leaders and we need to lead.  We cannot do it alone.  We can change a small portion of acts.  Our lives are short! Our time on our planet is precious.  We all have each other.  Live a life of immersion!  That is all that will sustain us.

Quirien MtK

In-Depth Projects- Introduction

In-depth Study: Two Universal Goals.

The two goals in the in-depth are as follows:

1. Know something about everything and everything about something.

In school you are usually taught about many subjects.  In this project, the goal is to learn a great deal about one field of activity.

2. Learn what others tell you is important and learn what you decide is important.

In school you are told what to learn and how to learn it.  In this project, you will decide in what field and with what strategies, you will become an “expert.”

REMEMBER:

We are interested in three components of your study.

1. The process: as young people, you will be learning patterns of behavior that will emphasize your strengths and that will help you overcome any difficulties.

–          Project will last at least five months

–          Your bi-weekly blog will demonstrate the process:

Blogging Criteria

Post includes: thorough progress report, includes information on mentor, describes frustrations, overcoming obstacles, includes evidence that illustrates process and product, includes modifications to project, includes relevant research, quotes, articles, references, websites etc, shows a caring about project.  Entry makes sense, is written concisely. 4
Includes most of the above description, but in less detail. 3
Includes about half of the above description, but in little detail.  Little progress is demonstrated. 2
In-depth study is progressing too slowly.  Entry is vague.  Demonstrates that not much effort has been made since last entry. 1
Not completed or handed in on time 0

 

 

2. The product: The product will include three areas:

                    i.            The evidence of learning

                  ii.            The source of self-esteem

                iii.            The cause for celebration

 

3. The mentor: The relationship with the expert in your field.  This relationship will include three areas:

                    i.            Meeting with mentor on regularly basis

                  ii.            Expanding network in community

                iii.            Getting feedback on progress

                 iv.            Obtaining an in-depth understanding of chosen field.

This I Believe Today

I believe in so much that it is hard for me to choose just a few words.  I love the notion of voluntary simplicity. The more we do with less the better.  Is it just doing less? Is it just feeling more and just being?  We make matters more complicated than they need to be. We lose sight of what really matters.  Living happily is my vision. What if we live everyday to the best of our ability and do as much good as possible?  We live our lives to the fullest, not separating but merging as many aspects as possible.  Making fewer distinctions and separations allows me to live life meaningfully and passionately.  There is meaning in it all. I may not know it all yet and may never know it, but trusting that it is there.  Trusting my instincts and being intuitive enable me to see the good in most things and continue to move forward, taking many with me on the same path. At the same time, I let others pass through or cross my path or run passed me.  So, live life to the fullest with its bumps and bruises along the way.  Learning occurs when we have to struggle the most. Experience has taught me that there is always going to be a way out or beyond it.  It may take longer sometimes; however, it is all worth it in the end.

 

My pledge

I vow to live according to as many voluntary simplicity principles as possible.  I vow to be the best I can be and to do the best I can do.  I strive for happiness and be there for others whenever I can. I will take care of as many relationships as possible in the human and nonhuman world.  I will change the “ I” to “we” whenever I can.

Vulnerable Harmony

The world is a vulnerable place.  A place filled with uncertainty, struggle and unknowns.  I like to reflect on a life that is exactly the opposite. I like to dream and to think big.  I like to change things for the better.  I like to see others change things.  We all have a part to play.  We are all part of it.  We need to see what is possible and make a difference. I include everyone who cares and like them to include me.  Why are there so many divisions and disagreements?  I walk away from some of them if I can.  I try to negotiate others.  Some of them I let go off entirely.  Harmony may also not be possible.  If everything is in harmony, it is in equilibrium, quite boring and unstable. Harmony is too much of the same thing and not enough variety or diversity.

Quirien MtK