Often through this semester my Independent Learning Project has been the highlight of my week. I have had loads of homework that often produces a groan and a bit of procrastination from me, and then there is logging hours for my Independent Learning Project. I can be tucked away in my office, with the music cranked and my eyes glued to my computer screen for so long that sometimes my husband would peek in and see if I needed to hydrate, or if I planned on coming out sometime soon. I feel like I chose the perfect Independent Learning Project for myself, learning Photoshop has always been something I have wanted to do, and ironically during this semester I have been taking pictures for a web designer, putting my new skill to work. I have done some but not all the editing for the projects we have embarked upon, now I am even going to get my own watermark to protect my photos, this is EXCITING!!
I have learned that it is never to late to start something that you want to learn, you are never “to old”, ” too inexperienced”, or whatever else we tell ourselves because we are to scared to start something new. I feel like as adults sometimes we don’t want to learn a new skill because we don’t want to be “bad” at something when we begin. I think that embarking on this project this semester has taught me the importance and hard work of learning a new skill. I often think if the conversation I have with my stepdaughter she states “I can’t do that, I’m not good at it” and I ask her “well how do you get better at it?” She smiles and answers, “practice.” I say it and mean it to her yet I sometimes do not take my own advice. Throughout this semester I have been practicing what I preach…and it feels good!
I think that the best part of my ILP was being able to edit something with my new skill that I will treasure forever. I edited my wedding photos and printed one of my creations onto a canvas for our living room. It is a beautiful picture of a magical day, and it also reminds me that with some practice I can accomplish what I intend to.
I will use Independent Learning Projects in my classroom because it is a good way to incorporate passion into content. I think they can be used as things that kids work on when they have “free time” as well as be incorporated into lessons we are learning. Learning a skill and adding to it something kids have chosen on their own will give them ownership and pride, they are likely to work harder because it includes something they like. I hope to be open minded and find opportunities that allow students to use their Independent Learning Projects as ways to show what they have learned through other lessons.