NLP – my scarf is complete!

Today marked the conclusion of our Networked Learning Projects in CEP810, but I definitely plan on knitting more in the future. I chose knitting as my skill to learn (using only YouTube and help forums) because it was something I always wanted to learn to do. I have been given knitted scarves as gifts in the past and really wanted to be able to make one for myself (and perhaps save some money, too, by not buying every cute scarf I see). Throughout the last few weeks, I’ve not only knit a pretty good garter stitch-style scarf, I’ve also learned a lot about myself as a learner in the process. I’ve embedded a video below that I feel really shows my learning and progress through the past few weeks.

I began thinking I would knit a scarf, it would be quick, and then I could knit another before our projects were due. I finished my first scarf – but I totally underestimated the amount of time it takes to knit! I’ve learned how to cast on, how to perform the garter stitch, and how to bind off. I’ve worked my way through tight knots and learned to keep them close to the end of the needle so that they are easier to work with. I have pretty much committed the steps to muscle memory. My current scarf didn’t turn out as long as I would have liked it to be. I’ll definitely make a longer one for my next knitting project.

At first, I was very nervous about learning with the internet as my only source. My mother-in-law knits, and I would have rather just asked her what to do. However, I kept to the YouTube and help forum road, and I am so glad I did. I was able to explore different how-to videos to discover exactly what I needed from a video in order to do my best (visual AND audio together). I learned that you definitely cannot judge an internet source “by it’s cover” – I had to watch the videos for at least a full couple of minutes before I realized whether or not they would be helpful for me as a learner. It’s okay to use more than one source, or to begin using a source and then decide it isn’t what you thought you needed. Help forums allow you the chance to connect with real people who share your interests. They really wanted to answer the posted questions to the best of their ability. Usually someone would post a source to go to for more information, so it’s collaboration on a whole new level. You end up visiting sources that you never knew existed. The nice thing about the internet is that it is readily available (for the most part) and that you can find what you need without leaving home… or, if you have left home, you can keep up with what you need to know using a device with internet access.

In the future, I definitely feel more confident about learning (and teaching) online. The amount of resources available to us online is infinite. I would love to be able to lead a class in which I post videos online for students to learn from, and then meet face-to-face to discuss them. Showing students how to be responsible citizens online opens up great opportunities for them to network with other students. It helps our students to see the importance of staying connected with one another and sharing ideas with technology. Our students are certainly lucky to be growing up in such a technologically-advanced world.

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