Thursday, May 29, 2008

Travel to Learn

I recently came across this article in the eLearn magazine about the advantages/effectiveness of learning while traveling and it brought a flood of memories from my student days.
For one, I remember doing a lot of my assignments while traveling. (Not sure if that qualifies as learning though!)
I remember writing science journals, class assignments, et al on train rides to college. But, trains are easier to work in. My most accomplished feats were when I managed to complete engineering assignments on horrendously bumpy bus rides to college. Precariously balancing the files on your knees while trying to maintain a modicum of handwriting consistency on a peak-hour crowded bus is definitely not easy!
More importantly, the most studying I've done for almost every college exam has also probably been on my way to the college or exam center! We called it "revision" but, well, I think I retained most information from the 30-minute train/bus ride than the long days and nights of studying I did before the exams. (I think approaching deadlines do that to me. I’m more motivated if I know that the end to the misery is close by!)
I’ve also done a lot of analysis and reviews for projects when traveling. Taking printouts to read and jotting down notes on them have worked quite well for me. I’ve hit upon some really neat ideas on the train. Sometimes, a break from the usual surroundings works wonders for mental/writers’/designer’s blocks.
However, I also believe that we should not use all our traveling time or always use our traveling time for work and study. Because, for me, the travel time was also some quality “me” time. It gave me the space and the time to reflect and plan my day, my week…my life. It gave me the time to sort out things, dream, and basically just relax inspite of the crowds and the mad jostling for seats. Come to think of it, maybe that is also learning - from life.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Blogging Tool Troubles

It looks like the blogging tools have decide to boycott me!

For some reason, Technorati won’t let me join and Cocomment won’t work in my IE browser!

Technorati: First, the home page doesn’t display correctly. Second, if it try to fill out the form for signing up, it won’t allow me to enter my complete e-mail address in the Confirm e-mail address box. So, if I try to submit the form, it returns an error because the first and the second addresses don’t match! Don’t know if switching to Firefox will help, but I’m going to try that.

Cocomment: I added the extension to my IE browser. It worked fine the first day or so. After that it slowed down my browser so much that I had to disable the extension when I was working. Now, if try to enable it when I’m commenting, my browser freezer and I have to open Task Manager to close the window. Maybe it’s an issue with the amount of memory I have or maybe its once again an IE versus Firefox issue.

If Firefox doesn’t work, I guess I’ll have to give up trying to use these tools! :(

Comment Challenge: What I’ve Learned

It’s Day 7 of the Comment Challenge. I’d joined in thinking that I’ll be able to take it up and follow it through religiously. And today on Day 7, when the rest of the group is writing about what they’ve learned so far, I’ll have to admit that I’ve hardly been able to do much.

Things have been a little crazy around the office. We’ll be shifting soon to a new location and there are a lot of activities happening around it. Plus, the new project has kicked off and I’m also responsible for training new people who have joined my team. There’s so much work, I haven’t even been able to read all the new stuff showing up on my Google Reader!

Having said all that, I should say even through minimal contribution in the challenge I have learned, to my relief, that I’m not alone. The responses to my blog through this challenge have shown me that there’s a huge supportive and encouraging community out there.

I think one of the big e-learning mantras has been proved for me - you learn better through interaction. I’ve learned that I’ll build my knowledge and expertise better by sharing it with others and interacting with the online community instead of just browsing through blogs and websites. Active learning versus passive learning!

I intend to follow through all the tasks and activities that I missed in the challenge. After all, the challenge doesn’t end with this Challenge event. The real challenge is to continue improving our blogging and commenting practices in our quest to become better blog citizens long after this event is over. :)

And if you are part of The Comment Challenge remember to add the " comment08 " tag to your post.