I cannot believe that I am actually nearing the end of my final term on my PLP (and high school) journey. This week is the last week of our extreme groups unit, from now on our focus will be on preparing for our final PLP exhibition that is coming up in two weeks. I really enjoyed this unit, and having just handed in my latest project, I thought I would make this post to recap my learning over the term so far.

We began this project weeks ago by talking about turning points in 20th snd 21st century history, and we used our new note taking methods to write down everything that we had learned. I have a post here that covers most of what is important in regards to Zettlekasten. We learned about things like the birth control pill and how it affected how women could control their lives, and Watergate and how the American public lost trust in their president. This is also included in that same post. 

During the second week we would focus on our actual project which took the focus of terrorism, specifically we looked at its definition and what it means to label a group as a terrorist organization. We watched a BBC documentary series called “Age of Terror” and explored many of the groups that were covered in the show. For example, groups like, al Qaueda, FARC, and Irgun all of which met the definition of a group using violence against civilians to obtain political goals. 

We really looked into how the definition could be warped and how one group could be seen as a freedom fighter by some but a terrorist group by others. Some examples can be seen with groups like Irgun who were zionist committing terrorist acts in Palestine to attempt to gain a Jewish state, or Hamas, who in modern times have been fighting against Israel for a Palestinian state.

We summed up our terror unit with an essay, transitioning into looking at other extreme groups and talking about other cults or new religious movements. Groups like the Peoples Temple and the Branch Davidians were good examples of classic cults, but we also looked at newer ones like Qanon which is still ongoing today. These cults were the focus for my final piece of work for this project, where I wrote an essay about how groups that focus on a fear of power are more likely to be radicalized. For the evidence, I used the similarities between the situations that groups whose core ideas focus on a fear of power put themselves in, and how these same situations are perfect for radicalism. For example, isolation of members is a very important situation that causes people to be more loyal to the group that they are following.

This essay is really the culmination of all of the notes that I have been taking up until this point. It was really easy to just drag over ideas and sources that I had already made when producing my notes. As a result, I felt so much more organized in building my essay around the evidence and ideas I had already researched and learned about. Thanks to Zettlekasten not only did my essay not take as long to write it, but knowing I had all the information I needed at my fingertips helped me to feel more confident in my subject matter for the assignment, which I think came across in my writing. Zettlekasten will definitely be a part of my life long learning journey as I move on to the next chapter in my education.