It has been awhile since my last MPOL, however I have not forgotten the importance of reflection. Although its been two years since my last presentation of learning, I’ve been continuously trying to improve on the 2 major weaknesses I addressed at the time. These two weaknesses I had were my presentation skills and my organization. Here’s how I’ve overcome these challenges.
The first project we did this year was about making our own political party. I feel that this project was a reminder to actually THINK. I’d do the work that was required and I was shocked when I kept seeing a developing grade on many of the assignments I did. It was only at the end of this project, after I saw my feedback that I noticed I wasn’t putting enough thought into my work. I started the assignment with an idea in mind, and I’d slowly veer away from that idea until I’d have a completely different answer or opinion.
Since then, I have been setting aside some time to just think. Using ‘Craft’ or ‘Things’, I write down some things I want to talk about or even my immediate thoughts on something. When it comes time to work on the assignment, I would write it in bullet points as a way to keep my work organized and more concise. Nobody wants to read about a high school project with 2000 words and one photo. Which is why I’ve been keeping my work concise but well thought out to make it not look like I’m just too lazy to spend extra time writing.
I used to struggle with organization in general. I can confidently say this is no longer a problem. By procrastinating far less. I’ve been able to stay on top of my work in all my classes (having only 4 at a time does help). Which took a really different approach then I anticipated. I used to imagine perfect organization as time blocking every hour, and spending a lot of time making my notes look good. As it turns out, I really need to make it make sense for me. Starting the year being introduced to a way to build our “Second Brain”. Zettelkastens have proved to be useful to me. Not for what they actually are, but the thought that goes into them. I really don’t think the Zettelkasten format that were using works for me, although it made me realize I can just adjust it to what works for me. I’m applying this mindset to all the work in my other classes and its making organization feel far less daunting as I really only need to spend a few minutes dumping my thoughts into an empty page and a few more to make those thoughts make sense.
Presentations take practice, and are very daunting to most. I used to hate the feeling I’d get before a presentation and I still do. That being said, we’ve done quite few small presentations this year in which I’ve been working a few techniques such as changing pitch and pacing which proved itself in the last project called “Sounds Of Poetry”.
This project was a great way for me to understand how text can have more meaning then what is directly said. With literary techniques, I was able to understand how many of the songs I had grown up listening to had meaning to me, and more importantly, why they had meaning to me. With repetition used in almost every song, I now understand that that isn’t the writer getting lazy. They use repetition and other techniques similar to get the message across. Using that knowledge I had, I was able to reflect on some songs that had meaning to me and I put them in a presentation to share my new skill.
How does this project connect to my presentation skills? The way we were asked to present our songs allowed me to get more creative. We separated into small groups of 3-4 which allowed myself and others to present our ideas differently. Using some of the techniques I used from the short presentations at the start of the year. I was able to find a way for myself to get feedback on what I’ve been working on. By using a Kahoot!, I could tell if my audience was actually engaged or not. Luckily, the audience I was presenting to got 100% of the questions correct which shows me that my presentation skill have come a long way. Presentations are still not one of my strengths, and so I will still be working on this skill in the future but the Kahoot! was a great way for me to see progress.
Now that I’ve made improvements on weaknesses from the past. I still feel like I’m falling behind as a collaborator. Collaboration is one of the biggest aspects of PLP that I’ve been overlooking.
Noticing others participating in class and activities like our Socratic Seminars for the Manhattan Project. I feel like I’m not comfortable sharing my thoughts, which makes me miss out on opportunities to ask questions or even add to what others are saying. Moving forward I will make sure I will be sharing with the class at least once every class and I know I will stick to this, by adding it to my zettels for that week.