Monday, April 16, 2012

Whew!  It has been quite the semester.  Here are some of the things that I have learned in my digital civilization class.

This class is a civilization course.  As such, it uses concepts from the digital age and applies them to the past.  As an archaeologist, I am fond of history and have quite enjoyed the changed perspective of applying digital concepts to it.  The historical perspective was the portion of the class that I was most familiar with and where I had the most opportunity to contribute. I researched the French revolution as part of my eighteenth century group.  In my posts I tried to base my thoughts off of historical perspectives.  Finally, as part of my e-book group (inquiry)I was put in charge of writing the historical perspective section of the chapter.  During class discussions I would try to make historical applications.  I feel that modern thought brings new light to history and that the study of history can and should help us navigate our way through the digital age.

Digital concepts:
The digital part of digital civilization.  This is the section that I was most concerned with in this class.  I am not tech savvy.  Admittedly it was a pretty steep learning curve when I had to start creating blogs and signing up for google+.  I was experiencing signs of technostress.  I don't think I have overcome my wariness of new technologies, but I am learning.  I was able to be part of the Information C group where I was able to learn about disruptive innovation.  I was intrigued by disruptive innovation and decided to dig deeper outside of the presentation and found Clayton Christensen and was able to attend a lecture that he gave on campus (which was excellent by the way).  For the e-book, we had the opportunity to discuss the digital concepts specifically information and participation.  I was able to participate in presentations, written portions of builds, and class discussions.  Digital concepts were the section that I was most concerned about coming into the class, but I believe that it is the section where I learned the most.  As I began using different tools I learned in class and researching disruptive innovations, I was actually excited about what I was learning which led to some interesting projects (to be discussed later in the blogpost).

Digital Literacy:
As discussed above, I am not the most digitally civilized individual in class.  However, this class has opened my mind to some tools that have already helped me in other fields. I now listen to tedtalks at work and have listened to over 50.  I have used google scholar and HBLL online tools to get sources for papers in my other classes. I have been able to reach out to other archaeologists through google + who, though not studying in my particular field, are trying to innovate the way we do things.  I used a prezi to give my presentation on Fremont ceramics at Wolf Village.  My professor was really wary about using something that wasn't powerpoint, but he seemed to be pleased with the results.  As part of the e-book group we have been working on a lesson plan that will reach outside the scope of the class and change the way that students learn at BYU.  Lynsie is working on the lesson plan and will send us a copy to review when she's done.  I still have a long way to go to become digitally literate, but I have made some good steps forward.

Self-directed learning:
I love to learn. I love finding new ideas and expanding my horizons. I would often begin to study for class and would be distracted by researching different avenues that had arisen from my research.  I learned a lot that I was able to use in class both in discussion and in my groups. I learned about prezis and decided to learn enough to use it effectively and have been able to teach some of my teachers and fellow classmates.  I was able to use what I learned in class to collaborate and teach in my other classes.  When preparing for classes I would draw on what I already knew, but I would also study the topics for the day through internet searches and trips to the library.  One interest I have gained from this class is disruptive innovation and have begun to look into books by Clayton Christensen.  I love to learn and now have an increased capacity to do so.

This is an area that I have completely changed my opinion about.  Now it seems so awkward trying to schedule meetings for presentations when we could just use prezi, google docs, or google hangout (I have been able to use all three for class).  One of the most interesting developments (for me at least) in my collaborative experience is a new project I am a part of.  Paul Stavast, the director at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, told me about his desire to improve the methods of archaeologists in excavating, analyzing, and curating artifacts. He was trying to teach himself programming languages to create and app, but was not progressing as fast as he wanted to.  We discussed our plans and ideas and then I introduced him to my cousin who is an electrical engineer major who has had some experience creating apps.  He hopped on board and then introduced us to one of his acquaintances who had an algorithm for shape identification which we are currently calibrating to recognize various arrowhead types.  This project should have a big impact on the effectiveness of archaeological inquiry.  

I believe that the true impact of the class was what I have been able to accomplish outside of class.  I have improved my learning and teaching and have been able to share that with others outside the class.  I have admittedly fallen short of a full-fledged digital citizen, but I believe that I am learning and moving forward.  I like innovation (one of the main things I liked about the class)  and this class has helped me get excited about it.  I am studying archaeology and museums, both are fields where innovation is needed but slow and I hope that I can make a difference in both fields.

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