Dissertation Defense in T-16 days

I just sent out the final draft of my dissertation to my committee.  There will still be some minor edits, and there is the presentation to continue preparing, but this degree is winding down.

I picked up my graduation regalia last week and still can’t quite believe that I am almost done.

I’ve been counting down since the week before spring break – it was the 4 week mark until my defense date on April 14th.

I’ve been telling people that I’m done, completely done with degrees.  (Those who know me just smile and nod knowing that I won’t ever stop learning.)

Quote from Michaelangelo "I'm still learning."

I do not know what is on the horizon, but I do know that there will be new doors and opportunities ahead.

Now to get back to working on the presentation…

Growing Our Theories

Theories are ideas about how things work.  Just ideas.  Hopefully, someone – often the theory developer, then “tests” the theories to see if they are “true” or “correct”.  Theories develop over time, with lots of observation.  We all have them, and we all test them everyday.

We even began testing them early on.  “What happens if I take that toy from my brother?”  “If I pull on my brother’s seat-belt from behind, will he know it was me?”  (I have lots of brothers).  As small humans we push limits and boundaries and buttons as we come to learn how to function in our world.

As I’ve been reading about a variety of learning theories, (the latest being the quantum perspective of learning).  I find that there are portions of various theories that “speak” to me, but not whole theories.  Then I ran across this quote – which is not in a learning theory article – but from a science minded individual

“I call it a theory because it is surely incomplete. And calling it a theory means I expect you will change and improve it. I hope so, because then it will be yours. But at least I can help your theory building along.”

from Gifts of Love by Henry B. Eyring

I love the part in the middle, “And calling it a theory means I expect you will change and improve it.”  It is a work in process, this idea of “theory”.  As a scientist I can put together a fairly decent view of how I think something works, share it with you and then hopefully you’ll join in on the “testing” portion. I like the idea that a theory is changeable.  It is living, growing, improving.

But the part I love best about this quote is “…because then it will be yours.” We each need to figure out what our own theory is, and not let it get stagnant.  We need to share our theories, and help others “grow” their own theories.  Theories are a work in process.

As educators, instructional designers, teachers, etc, we need to be aware of our own theories.  We need to understand how our ideas developed and what influences our ideas.  This helps us move forward and progress.  When we stubbornly cling to or reject ideas without careful analysis of both the ideas and our own ideas that are causing the stubbornness, we limit our own ability to progress, learn and grow.

Deciding where to work…

Work with the smartest people you can find, do something you’re not ready to do, find an environment in which you’re very comfortable so you can find your voice, and work for someone who believes in you — because when they believe in you, they’ll invest in you. – Marissa Mayer in Google Exec Marissa Mayer Explains Why There aren’t more Girl Geeks

I have to say this is really good advice – no matter what kind of career you are in.

Mobile Technology “Literacies”…

Well, not really that new, as technology has been with us for a while.  But as technology changes and the younger generations take all these amazing, wonderful, sometimes unbelievable things in at record speeds, the ethics, appropriateness and guidance from the previous generations is absent.  Sometimes it is all so new that we don’t quite understand the impact ourselves.  But it still remains with us, adults to help the younger generation learn the skills – both logical and emotional to create wise paths into the upcoming technology.

An article from Educause –  Mobile Perspectives: On teaching Mobile Literacy brings up some of these critical “literacy” issues.  I loved the following quote:

“The future our students will inherit is one that will be mediated and stitched together by the mobile web, and I think that ethically, we are called on as teachers to teach them how to use these technologies effectively.”

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