When I embarked on my learning project for ECI 831, I figured the research portion would be the easiest part of the entire process.
Little did I know, there are endless resources online from DIYers. I spent hours upon hours clicking through websites, finding myself opening up anything that looked somewhat interesting. The websites that I found most useful were Instructables, Makezine, and videos on YouTube. Soon, my browser looked like this (this is even after I closed 20 or so tabs). Note the mess of tabs I had open.
Every where I turned online I was finding something that I could take and apply to my project. I was finding inspiration everywhere and valuable resources galore. I couldn’t stop myself. If it looked like there was even the tiniest chance there might be something useful I Ctrl+clicked the link (shortcut to open in a new tab, for those that don’t know!).
It was clear that I needed a better way to manage this. Most links had something I could benefit from, but not all of them were going to be essential for my project. I considered using Diigo (my preferred social bookmarking tool), Google Docs, and PearlTrees as spaces to collect the link I found most useful. Ultimately, I settled on the tried-and-tested Pinterest to house those links most valuable to this project. This decision was based largely on the fact that so many educators swear by Pinterest, but I have been reluctant to fully engage with the tool. This project will prove to be an opportunity to put it to the test with a meaningful project.
Here is the current state of my Learning Project pin board, which I will continue to trim down and add to as I work through the project.
I think it’s safe to say that at some point or another, we’ve all sat down to watch a quick YouTube video, and looked to the clock 2 hours later and wonder what happened. We’ve all fell down this rabbit hole. This is a very real part of trying to research and learn online. If I were to repeat this part of my learning project again, I would limit myself to a certain amount of time to search aimlessly online for resources that may be useful. Following this broad, open-ended search period, it would be important to focus your researching to very specific things that you want to learn. Aimlessly searching, hoping for the “answer” to fall into your lap, will not get you very far.
The next step for me is to do some much more focused research. I’ll be looking at options for the top of my coffee table, legs, and what sorts of tools I’ll need.