Over the past few weeks, I have written a few blog posts about a Networked Learning Project (NLP) that was assigned in my grad class. The project challenged each person in the class to choose one thing we had always wanted to learn to do. I decided on a goal of reseating an old wooden kitchen chair. The exciting thing about this project was that we could only use online sources to learn the skills needed to complete it. We were not allowed to ask another person in our life to help us, but we could ask folks on Twitter or Facebook for assistance.
I have been able to complete not one but two seats during this project! The first taught me a lot of lessons, but my learning is not over. I continue to learn more about the process with each seat I weave. This puts me halfway through my set of 4 chairs, and I’m sure I will learn new tricks with each remaining chair. I’m really enjoying this and see it continuing into the future as a hobby.
Pictures of the first completed chair! So exciting!
I created the following video to give you a better understanding of my project goals, the sources I used for my learning, as well as the lessons I learned.
During the process of weaving these chair seats, I learned a lot about weaving and working with paracord. One lesson is that paracord is very strong and if I pull it too tight when I am wrapping it is possible that the wooden rungs of the chair won’t be able to hold up against the pressure and they may break. To avoid this, I wrapped the paracord with a little slack so it would have some “give” when someone sits on it. I also learned that it’s important to pay attention to what you are doing when weaving. I allowed myself to get distracted during the first chair seat and I messed up the weaving. The process of undoing that work and reweaving it was frustrating.
The project was a great way to learn some of the lessons from class in a real-life setting. For instance, at the beginning of this course, we started by reading and talking about learning, transfer, and expert knowledge. In that reading, we learned that people construct new knowledge and understandings based on what they already know and believe and the preconceptions that they approach learning with must be addressed for them to change their beliefs (Bransford, Brown, and Cocking, 2000, p. 10). This was painfully obvious when I tried to tie a knot with paracord. I was confident that I already knew how to do it and had to experience failure before I was ready to learn a new method.
This project also helped me to understand 21st-century learning in a much more personal way. We learned from our explorations that 21st Century Learning is learner-driven, requires communication and collaboration, encourages a global scope, is adaptable, and encourages problem-solving (Rich, 2010). While finishing these chairs, I was required to guide my own learning by using the global world of the internet and communicating with others via Twitter when I ran into problems. I had to adapt the information to my own situation and solve problems as they arose.
Overall, I think this was a worthwhile project, and I see the benefits of this type of learning. It is useful that while learning from online sources, you can do it in your own timeframe. I also like that there are so many sources of help when you get stuck in the middle of the project. With this type of learning, support is often just a tweet away.
If you haven’t had a chance to read my other blog posts on this topic, you should check them out. In the first blog post entitled, “Have a seat?” I introduced the project and described my goal. It was followed by a second blog post, “Tying a knot is…hard!” in which I described the trials I had met along my journey.
Bransford, J., Brown, A.L. & Cocking, R.R. (Eds.). (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Retrieved from https://www.nap.edu/read/9853
Rich, E. (2010). How Do You Define 21st-Century Learning? – Education Week. [online] Edweek.org. Available at: https://www.edweek.org/tsb/articles/2010/10/12/01panel.h04.html [Accessed 1 Feb. 2019].
Note: All photos and videos are the work of the author.