Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Learning 2.0: first assignment

I have signed up to follow along with the program Learning 2.0 run by a library in Charlotte, NC. It is a training experience designed to be a fun, playful and exploratory way to learn all about some of the latest opportunities on the Internet. If you are unsure about how to start blogging; don’t know how to post your pictures and don’t know what Flickr is; have no idea what people mean by “tags”; or would like to be able to listen to music and share home videos with friends and family, this might be something for you too. It looks like a gentle, friendly, fun way to put your toes in the water and you don’t have to be a computer nerd or a librarian to follow along. The staff at the home library is working for prizes and has to submit their assignments, but for the rest of us coming along for the ride it is just pure play and exploration.

The program just started last week and goes until October, so I will be posting about what I am learning each week here. Last week’s assignment was to learn about some Lifelong Learning Habits and talk about which aspect is easiest or hardest for us, so that is what I am posting about today. You see the tutorial here.

After looking over the list I have to say the only hard thing here for me is:
1. Begin with the end in mind

I think I have been taught to incorporate all the other aspects into my psyche and I truly enjoy them, especially the play and being with others who play (kids☺), so they are already habits. But I have stubbornly resisted #1 all my life. I just am not good at visualizing my goals. I prefer to wander through life looking for serendipity. When I first heard that word in college I practically laughed out loud! They have a word for my universe? Cool!

In college I had mentors, advisors and teachers who tried to explain to me the need for goals and plans. I was so puzzled about why they wanted me to know and even write down where I wanted to be in 5 or ten years. I couldn’t make sense of that because the way I saw it I might do anything and be anywhere in 5 years! As it turned out I was right. I went around the world, lived in a foreign guest house in China for two years, had a baby as a single woman, taught adults, teens, and preschoolers in all sorts of environments, lived in a communal house in the inner city, shopped in Hong Kong and swam on beaches in the Philippines. Who could have written that all down in a college notebook?

I have a very distinct memory of my English prof advisor sitting me down and explaining that I had to chose a major in my sophomore year because if I waited to long to make a choice and a clear plan I would actually be narrowing my options by not defining my path. It made no sense at all to me but I knew he was trying to tell me something important that I better figure out. I file that memory with the one of my high school English teacher telling me I better learn to spell correctly or people would think I was stupid. wise words trying to teach me that the world was not all on my terms, as creative and brilliant as I thought I was. *foolish grin*

I ended up choosing English as a college major because I thought that would still give me wiggle room in choosing courses and not tie me down to any particular career. It was years after graduating and working until I realized how that limited me in other ways, by not preparing me for a clearly recognizable career. It wasn’t until I had a baby and needed a job with benefits that it started to sink in.

So Beginning with the End in mind seems impossible for me. I have no idea where I want to go or what I want to do in 6 months, a year, 5 years. I want to walk around with my eyes and ears wide open and discover new things. Of course, as a parent and teacher and librarian I can list a lot of goals and priorities, but in my heart of hearts that is not what comes up when you ask me what end I have in mind. For this particular course the end I have in mind to learn as much as I can from the other participants about new technologies and experiment with cool stuff online.

Oh alright, I guess maybe that’s a pretty clear goal after all.



Andrea said...

I'm very much like that. I think huge decisions (and that includes goal-setting) can be hard because they seem to limit your options. Sometimes I have to just tell myself "you can always change your mind!", but that doesn't always make it easier! (I think it's also the perfectionist in me...I want to get it right the first time, so I'm afraid of making the wrong decision, or of missing my goal, etc.)

L said...

I TOTALLY identify! And thanks for making me look up serendipity. I had seen it before, of course, but I didn't really know what it meant. Wikipedia helped me - it is a cool word! In my case, I think I can set goals and plan ahead for big things, I just don't like routines and planning my day/ week on a smaller scale. Oh, and of course I'm a terible procrastinator. I think I'm quite a bit "serendipitous," though! :) I think I would have liked to have a life like yours, to travel the world and do all kinds of things. Well, I could go on and on, so I'll stop here. I should write a post about this!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Yes, that is what I like about setting my own goals and making my own rules... I tell myself I can always change my mind and break the rules.

Lilian, I think you have a pretty interesting life too! And you have traveled... aren't you living in a foreign country? LOL Brazil is facinating and I love to hear you talk about it.

L said...

LOL, well, you're right, I do have an interesting life, I have followed the footsteps of my parents after all (you can read part 2 of my 100 things post for the story if you haven't already), but I'm taking it a step further - living abroad much longer. I truly wanted to continue to live "adventurously" (there's probably another word, but I'll use this made up one for now) - live in Europe for a few years and maybe even in Asia (like my brother), but other than being an expatriate, I think my life is pretty "conventional."