The Stuff of Growth

By Erika Goering,

  Filed under: Find&Share, KCAI, Learning, Multimedia Experience, Read&Respond
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1: Makeup Tutorial

I’ve learned that one’s appearance as a teenage girl in high school or college is very important. However, as a jaded mid-20-something-year-old who’s been in college entirely too long, I choose to rock my dreadlocks and pseudo-professional attire in lieu of sweatpants, a messy bun, and a shit-ton of eye makeup.

That’s just how I roll (which is pretty much the point of this entire post). And my brain isn’t so bad either.

2: Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Let’s start this semester off with a personal backstory:

I’ve lived my entire life thinking I was “weird.” I was in my school district’s gifted program from 4th grade to 10th grade, so once a week I was confined to a bubble of established-but-unspoken superiority comprised entirely of pre-pubescent misfits (pretty much wedgies and pocket protectors all around, in contrast to and in result of our supposedly brilliant minds). Throughout middle school and high school, I mostly kept to myself, even while among my own similar breed of academic success.

Despite my achievements, the public school system had failed me.

Elementary school housed a completely different Erika. One that I currently strive for and long to become again. I was warm and caring, creative and uniquely myself. It was during this time in my life when I was more myself than I had ever been and probably ever will be again.

Somewhere down the line, between 4th and 10th grade, I was forced into this mold of what an ideal student was. I lost my original self, and my grades suffered. I stopped caring and I forgot how to be engaged in my own education.

I didn’t stand a chance unless I re-learned how to learn in a way that worked for me.

3: My Own Learning Style

Over the course of my life as a student (and validated by the learning style assessment we did for MX class), I somehow discovered that I’m pretty much all over the place when it comes to learning. I can do pretty well with both the abstract and concrete, but I tend to lean more towards the concrete (thus my mad skillz in standardized testing). This explains my interest and aptitude for geeky things that involve absolute answers (such as coding/programming). I’m definitely more reflective than active, which makes for some interesting dynamics between my geeky side and my artsy side. I’m very much into the philosophy of why things happen. But I also like to break things down and see how they work.

Knowing that people’s brains work differently is crucial in utilizing educational tools. Duh, y’all.

4: Education Paradigm TED Talk

Collaboration is the stuff of growth. True dat. Different types of thinkers bring unique perspectives to the table. But if we don’t nurture these perspectives, we all go bland. We get uninspired, depressed, hollow. We try to occupy our minds with distractions, regardless of the repercussions.

I think my saving grace in my high school and early college years was that I surrounded myself with people who had different traits than my own. I knew I needed some balance, and I believe that balance is what helped me succeed.

5: Paradigm Shifts of the Future

I’m expecting and anticipating some exponential growth and changes in education and technology. The trends are there.

Back in my day, the Internet was a new concept. My first computer was a gray box running Windows 3.1 (later upgraded to 3.11, I might add). Dot-matrix printer. The whole shebang.

As a child, I was fascinated with that machine. I absorbed every aspect of how that magical thing worked.

My second computer was a Compaq Presario desktop running Windows ME. (This was back when you didn’t need a shiny new device every other year. Any progress worth a damn took time. There was almost a decade between the two PCs of my childhood.) The Presario was my gateway drug to programming and design. It was on this monstrous device that I discovered HTML and Photoshop. We all know how that ended up.

I used the tools at my disposal to self-teach. Because that’s just who I am.

Fast-forward to today. I’m typing this post on a 15-inch, wafer-thin supercomputer that’s worth more than my car. To my left is an even smaller 7-inch supercomputer, with a quad-core processor and hardly any physical buttons. In my pocket is a smartphone of similar (albiet a bit outdated) capacity. I have the internet in my pocket, on my lap, and at my side. I literally have the world at my fingertips. How friggin’ cool is that?

It blows my mind every day that I’ve got cutting-edge technology at my disposal that was just a twinkle in someone’s eye a few years ago. I am learning both crucial and useless information every day at my own volition. Because it’s engaging. Maybe even habit-forming.

I can learn anything I want at anytime I want. That’s hella powerful.

As far as paradigm shifts go, we’re definitely in one.

The merging of education and technology is in itself a huge leap forward. With something as simple as the addition of tablets in the classroom, textbooks are no longer a limitation; they’re now interactive and engaging and dynamic. And this is just what we need to make learning worthwhile.


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