Today is Thanksgiving Day and as we travel down the interstate to meet family for the holiday I reflect upon the things that have happened in the past for which I feel gratitude. Like most people, I am thankful for family, friends, faith, shelter, clothing, and nourishment. If I think a little more deeply, I can come up with more obscure things that make my life pleasant or bring some quality to it. Things such as board games I can play with my kids and family, my green loofah, my favorite XM satellite station, and even school…yes, I said it, school. I am admittedly one of those people who loves school but as I get older, it gets increasingly difficult. This semester, I was honestly dreading the Independent Learning Project. The thought of having to spend extra time that wasn’t devoted to studying and would require me to stay motivated and disciplined was definitely not a thought I could ever imagine being thankful for. Although I consider myself to be a self-guided and lifelong learner, I simply despised the idea of having to do this project but it was a requirement for the completion of this class so I began my journey.
After some contemplation, I chose to study the book of Colossians. I quickly discovered that I would have to spend a lot of time reading and rereading the scriptures, researching sermons on those scriptures, and reading footnotes in order to have good quality material to share on my blog. My patience needed to be strengthened for sure. It was definitely a challenge for me to stay motivated enough to take all of these steps in order to actually learn something from this project and share it with others. Seeing so many positive comments on my ILP related blog posts and finding out that there were so many other Christian education students was my favorite part of this project. I also must say that I learned quite a bit about my faith and my God than I originally had thought I could learn and in the future I would like to continue a similar type of self-guided study into the other books of the bible.
As a future educator, I feel that I will definitely be able to utilize independent learning projects in my own classroom. Independent learning projects can help to ensure students are engaged in learning since they are able to choose their own topic to study. In addition, ILP’s can teach students important skills that will contribute to their success as lifelong learners such as self-regulation, self-confidence, and self-efficacy. I definitely feel like I gained something from this project. My self-discipline and time-management skills were strengthened throughout this process as well as my thirst for knowledge.
So, as odd as it may sound, this Thanksgiving I am thankful for Literacy in the Digital Age, our instructor Shaye, and of course, Independent Learning Project.