Networked Learning Project: I Did It!

I did it!  I am SO happy with how my chevron print maxi skirt turned out!  Watch my video to see how I did it, and to hear some of my reflections on this project:

 My Maxi Skirt Journey

As I mentioned in my last post, I felt nervous at the beginning and overwhelmed by new information in the middle, but now that I’m at the end, I feel really empowered.  I think the hardest part of the process was sorting through all of the available instructions, especially when they conflicted.  For example what settings should I use for my stitches?  Should the length be 1.4 or 2.5? Should the width be 2.0 or 2.5?  I’m still not sure what the “right” decision was, but I picked one that looked pretty to me.  Only time will tell if it holds up well!  I think this relates to how we learn information in any setting.  When you’re a novice, you use your prior knowledge and look to experts to guide you in new areas.  It seems easiest if you have one “expert” source for information – in a traditional classroom, that’s the teacher.  But in my classroom, I’m trying to transition to being less of an expert and more of a guide, helping my students sort through the available information.  In this Networked Learning Project, I was reminded how difficult it is to struggle through learning something new without an authoritative voice telling you exactly what to do.

But I am also more convinced that this is a good way to learn:

  1. I had to take some risks and make some decisions I wasn’t sure about, but I also felt freedom to be more creative. For example, because I am kind of “curvy”, I decided to take waist, high hip, and low hip measurements for my skirt.  I’m not sure it made a huge difference on this skirt, because it’s a stretchy fabric, but the skirt does fit very well!  And, as I mentioned earlier, I experimented with different stitch lengths and widths until I found one that looked good to me.
  2. As I struggled to match up the pattern at the seams, I almost gave up on trying to make them match.  But I decided to do a quick web search about matching chevrons…and I was super-encouraged to find someone who confessed that it took them over an hour to match the stripes!  I stuck with it, and while they’re not perfect, I feel pretty good about how the seams match on my skirt.  Without the encouragement of someone who had gone down this path before, I would have given up!
  3. When I was successful, I felt more confident that I had actually learned something and that I could find and learn other things in the future.  I have already offered to make skirts for a couple of my friends who are jealous of my new-found skills.

For these reasons, I will definitely continue to learn in this way.  I’ll also encourage my students to do the same, both for class-related content and for other things they want to learn.  Learning is partly about having an excellent end product or understanding, which I’ve found is possible through Networked Learning.  But learning is also about the process: exercising creativity, working through struggles, being encouraged by other learners, and becoming confident in your ability to learn.  Networked learning is an excellent way for any learner to grow in their knowledge and process skills!

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