It's that time of the year again, the turning point of the semester. A time when you look back at the semester and realize what you have (or have not) learned over the past 4 months of your life.
With new classes and trying to adjust after my mission and getting engaged...a lot has happened in the last 4 months. But this post isn't about that, it's about what I have learned from my strangest class this semester: Digital Civilizations, where regurgitation is not the end, nor required in the class in the slightest... The class is more about creation... about working to make something worthwhile for the world to digest and to think about...
In this class I've learned that I need to start being more active in my own education (Hacking My Own Education). In my consumption of literature and information I have become a bit of a snob, making sure that I know where my sources lie, so as not to be influenced by the modern Yellow Journalists of the day. Knowing that merely regurgitating things on a test will not help me to become a better scientist or a better citizen, you have to be able to tie in everything that you have learned together to integrate this knowledge into the digital sphere(Internet food chain). (My poor GPA has suffered slightly because of this new mindset) However, learning more about how I learn and how I can apply this new knowledge has helped me connect my predecessors in the fields I am studying and their success with the topics covered in this class.
One example would be my favorite microbiologist Louis Pasteur. He was able to use the media to make his point. The first thing he did that angered the people in the medical profession was his development of a pamphlet to educate people about the dangers of microbes and not being clean. He also helped disprove a theory that had been incorrect for eons (to read more about that click HERE) From taking the history I know about the science that I am studying I learned more about how people not originally from medicine can make poignant discoveries for medicine themselves. For me, this knowledge has taken away my distaste for people who 'don't know anything' but want to make contributions in science.
I've also learned more about what drives discovery (Documentation and Discovery) and how images can help cure disease (Broad Street Pump). I've also learned a little about what it takes to be a freelance biologist in a day of government funding and Professor driven projects leaving student scientists to be the lab minions to the scientific elite.( Freelance) I also learned more about literacy through imagery, how one can use pictures to educate society on topics that they originally knew nothing about... about how a picture is truly worth 1000 words when it comes to society.(Imagery and Visualization)
In this class I have also discovered a few misnomers about modern definitions of creativity...about how creativity has become essential to the world we live in today as well as how we can learn to improve from being more creative (Creativity). I've also had the chance to begin to exercise my own creative juices more often as I've taken the plunge into the digital world and gotten open source photo editing software to help me improve( or develop my non existant) my graphics design skills to create something wonderful. (comic for class and comic) I've also connected to other people, a collegate professor in the Chemistry department to talk about the importance of science education... the Astronomy department to help them develop planetarium shows that educate and entertain the public, I've even reached out to some scientists who are interested in opening the journals to everyone... and also talked to graphic designers who make the infamous info graphics...(or more correctly, I have emailed them extensively and gotten no response back from them)
From graphic design to connecting the past scientists to present problems (Gone) I have learned how to more than just a casual armchair learner this semester. In fact, because of this research I have been doing about science education I am actually going to be designing a science exhibit for a children's museum in my Florida Hometown where the first hospital was built as an Honors Thesis, thus taking my consumption of information to a creative and connective activity that will benefit my hometown for years to come. I am excited to take what I have learned in this class about connecting and creating with a digital medium to the next level and make this an integral part of my life in the future.