Learning Adventures

We have had a lot of unusual adventures since beginning the autumn semester in our Learning & Technology class. Learning Adventures #1A and #1B were discussions about two events in history; Ned Kelly’s ‘adventures’ in Australia in the late 19th century, and the Chicago 7 – originally the Chicago 8 – here in Chicago in 1968. My interest was on medium for the Ned Kelly issue (1A), but it was piqued when the Chicago 7 question came up (1B). We had a much livelier discussion for the C7 question, and I believe part of it was because it was much more recent history.

Another reason was that I saw that participation was threatening to die on the vine, so I offered a more personal time capsule to the cadre. Although I was too young to really grasp all of the issues at that time I remember some things about that era, especially because my oldest brother was growing into adulthood right about then. It was an intense back-and-forth posting frenzy for me, and I felt really good about being able to contribute more than speculation (as I had with the Ned Kelly thread).  It was odd that I ended up being more of an authority of the C7 trial, especially since I don’t normally identify myself with the whole hippie generation. I grew up the following decade, when Saturday Night Live started, the Sex Pistols and the Clash came out and other crazy stuff. However I was the closest the cadre had to this era. Actually, there is someone else older than I am in the cadre who didn’t seem to have a lot to say about the C7 trial. I hope it wasn’t a really painful era for him. That could be why he was strangely silent on a subject he surely knows better than I do.

From there we worked on Learning Adventure #2, which was a godsend for me – music composing! We were handed a trial version of Sibelius which is similar to Finale, a composing software I use (mostly for classical music).  I found Sibelius a little clunky but workable, so I set to work creating a piano quartet with violin, viola and cello. I could do this assignment for the rest of the semester. I probably should! I could finish my whole next CD on Sibelius – or Finale. I felt bad for the people who struggled with Sibelius. I read that someone was intimidated by hearing my piece. It was odd; I felt a mixture of dejected and proud. Dejected because my piece affected someone negatively; proud because my piece must have turned out better than I thought! It’s kind of funny in a ridiculous way…

Today we were given Learning Adventure #3, which is to take a piece of software called Celestia (I have to tell my sister Celeste about this), and learn how to manipulate it. So far I was able to install it (whoo-hoo), open it and jump around to some different planets. I can see that moving about in this application will take a little getting used to, but it seems plausible enough. I’m wondering if this is deliberately paired with our new Second Life experience in another class. Both are new ‘worlds’ (or ‘galaxies’?) in which we need to polish up some new skills in order to be successful in them. It would make sense.

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