Tuesday, December 17, 2013

There once was a paper...

So, here is the finished product of my paper: Ta-Da! I had a wonderfully positive experience researching and writing it. I think the most fun I had was through networking. Figuring out that there were people on the other side of the country (or planet as the case may be) who were not only interested in what I was interested in, but also interested in how my ideas developed. 

When I found out that Google+ has communities devoted to anything you can think of, I began joining ones I thought would be interested in my posts and sending links to my friends and family on Facebook. The help and feedback I got was really what formed my ideas. 

I think the overall process for me has been more of a self-discovery. In my first post, I mentioned this has been my first semester back from my mission in Taiwan and I've had a hard time merging these two cultures that are such a huge part of me. I began my time in this course kind of discounting my experiences as not worthy of scholastic credit and trying too hard to make ideas very foreign to me fit into a good paper. 

One of the turning points for me was probably taking Dr. Burton's suggestion to write a post about some Chinese ideas relevant to our readings. It was received so well by classmates and friends, I was encouraged to write more about it until eventually having a topic for a research paper that I thought was too simple to be counted as scholarly. Little did I know that there was a whole Conference held in Tokyo associated with the local university there completely devoted to Eastern/Western artistic connections.

After some social proof and research on the current debate of Milton and Eastern influence, I was able to submit and abstract and I should hear back some time this month if it's a topic the conference is interested in.

Blog posts from other classmates I found really influential in my ideas' development are found here, here, here, this one,  and this one, actually.

Through this experience, I feel I not only was able to redefine myself as an amalgamation of all my experiences, but it has really shaped how I plan to teach students in the future. I've been learning that culture is something that can change when new elements are introduced into the environment and technology is most definitely one of these elements. It does not have to be our enemy, but can be a tool by which education becomes more effective. Thanks to everyone! I've learned so much from you and you've all made this semester a blast.
Signing off.

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