An exhilarating revelation about my history class, Age of Exploration, came at the end of our first week: I was having fun and learning at the same time! Sometimes during our discussions of homework readings I would find my class talking about, for example, why everything in Hawaii is so expensive or debating our opinions on the relationship between the church and the government. These links that we created between my current world and the past, tangential as they seem, have actually let me take away more from our discussions because they help me relate unconnected facts to realities that I know and am comfortable with.
If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday. ~Pearl Buck
So far, my experiences in Age of Ex have been nothing but exciting and positive. The freedom to choose my own topic and style of presentation has pushed me to consider my interests and expand my ideas of what research means. To me, researching is discovering not only facts, but also opinions. As I begin our second project on the Reformation, I can already see myself forming biases, but I think that having different beliefs is what makes research interesting.
When doing initial research on the Reformation for this second project, I was interested in the subtopic of the Scottish Reformation because this Wikipedia article claimed that it made lasting impacts on the Swiss Church that can still be seen today. I am interested in understanding the past to learn about myself and my world now, and I think that Age of Ex will continue to foster my appreciation for both history and learning.
On a more class-related note, one of the best aspects of my Age of Ex class is its casual but still respectful atmosphere. A few weeks ago, my hands were shaking as I stood up in front of the class to give my first presentation when I realized ‘I don’t need to be nervous! Even if I mess up, I know my classmates will be supportive. This presentation is really just like a long conversation with my class.’ Age of Ex does not stress so much the formality or length of a project as its quality, and I find that this focus gets to the core of good and productive learning. This somewhat informal tone of Age of Ex encourages the feeling that learning is to be enjoyed, and that it is a personal exploration as well as an academic one. This class has, in a way, reopened my eyes to the joys of learning, and I look forward to continuing my exploration of history in Age of Ex.
“Knox.” Photograph. The Reformation. Web. 27 Oct 2011. http://www.thereformation.info/Images/Knox.gif
“Past-Present-Future.” Graphic. The Articulate CEO. Web. 27 Oct 2011. http://thearticulateceo.typepad.com/my-blog/2011/09/cultural-differences-the-past-present-future-conundrum.html