Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ignite Talk on the Idea of Transparency In Writing, Creativity, and Imagination

Here's my Ignite talk titled The Idea of Transparency In Writing, Creativity, and Imagination. I had a lot of fun working on it and it is an idea that I established as a result of our English 1103 class. English 1103 was a great course to be a part of and I truly enjoyed every moment of it.

Thank You Lacy!!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

English 1103: No English Necessary

As English 1103 nears its end, I reflect on all of my work and assignments and I realize there was never much "English" involved. From the beginning I was taken back by the emphasis being placed on creativity and meta-cognitive thinking rather than on grammatical structure and rhetoric. I mean think about it, TWO of my THREE major projects were creating symbolic Lego structures... My longest actual paper in this course was probably no more than 1 page. So comes the question, how much did you actually learn Spencer? I would confidently assert that I learned more in this class than I would have in an otherwise structured course teaching the same material. Here's why:

Free as can be would be the best way to describe it. From what the assignments asked you to do to the class room atmosphere Lacy established, our courses' structure provided a comfortable stress free environment for students to work in. Our online g+ community was just as important as our classroom meetings. We provided real feedback and helpful criticism to each other without fear of being judged for out work. We got to work with many different students in class on various projects so there was never a dull lecture setting.

   Our assignments were pretty much at our discretion. I remember at the beginning of the semester being upset because I was always used to having an immense amount of direction regarding assignments. Lacy on the other hand explained the assignment in enough detail to where we knew what we had to accomplish but she left us without any constraints or restrictions. This was something I wasn't used to but it turned out to be quite possibly the best experience I have ever had with a class. It challenged me to think independently and to generate my own ideas and concepts rather than just recycling the visions of another. This played well into my make cycle submissions because I created Lego structures and a video that were unique to my experiences and how I interpreted the assignment. Being able to interpret an assignment and run with it in whatever direction you wish is awesome because it allowed me to come up with whatever I wanted and as long as I justified it, it was on point with the assignment.
   The videos and topics we discussed in our classroom setting also served as more of suggestions and possibilities to help us generate ideas. They worked well at opening our minds as students to a concept that we hadn't previously thought of.

As I mentioned before, our course was centered around creativity and meta-cognitive thinking. It may seem silly but until I wrote that previous sentence I didn't know what meta-cognitive thinking actual meant... So really I went a semester without knowing what this course is actually about. Great. Anyways, now that I do know what it means (thanks google) I can say that the true emphasis of this course was problem solving and working through the "chinks" using abstract and creative methods. All of our work was aimed at identifying a problem or flaw in society and fixing it using our own unique thinking. Take for instance a topic we talked about last week. We discussed the steps for getting into college. The arguably "flawed" source we covered explained the process of getting into college as a defined steps with no variation to the way it needs to be conducted. As a class we discussed our opinion on the source's portrayal of getting into college and offered our unique views on what we thought the necessary components were to getting into college. My vision can be seen in the picture from my day book below.

As I close out my reflection on English 1103 and my experience in the course, I now am able to see the bigger picture as to what the course aims to accomplish. I can say that in my opinion, this course is meant to move students away from dependent recycled thinking and towards unique self-generated thoughts and ideas. It has been somewhat of a course where I have had to find myself as I have had to truly determine and establish who I am as a writer, a maker, and a thinker.