'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Saturday 27 November 2010

I didn’t start this course to do paperwork…

but I should have realised that it would involve some.

I have spent most of the afternoon:

  1. ‘writing’ an essay plan for the personal research study and
  2. researching artists for the contextualisation [if there is such a word] of the 3D samples.

‘Writing’ is in quotes because, being me, I made a mind map. You should practice what you preach – I used to teach students how to use mindmaps for essay planning – so I’m quite pleased to find that it works! Well, I think it does, as obviously I haven’t written the essay yet – but I have a clear idea of what I'm going to write.

Also, being me, I did the mindmap on the computer, not by hand. I spent ages tweaking it and adding images, so the result looks prettier, but it would have been much quicker to do with a pencil and paper.

When I was working I used to use Inspiration, and very good it was, but I can’t afford to buy my own copy, so I've fossicked around on the web and at the moment I’m trying VUE. So far, so steepish learning curve, but it was designed for academic use, and it does what I want it to do, unlike some of the other freebies I’ve tried. [The map on the website does it no justice – yes, you can make maps like that if you want to, but you can make comprehensible ones as well…]

Essay plan

At least, I think mine is comprehensible, but I know there are people who would swim the channel rather than try to make sense of one -  – as we have to hand the essay plan in, I just hope the tutors aren’t in that group.

My only problem was that we also have to do a presentation on our chosen artist, and part way through, I realised I was planning the presentation, not the essay. It was far too anecdotal. I think I’ve sorted that but I’ll have another look in the morning. Of course the presentation means wrestling with PowerPoint – the thing I spent years at work avoiding learning about …

Researching artists was more fun, but my eyes are tired from peering at this screen and I’ve used masses of ink printing out lots of images. I did make some exciting discoveries though, like Naomi Grossman, who does wonderful things with wire. I especially like the way she includes words in her figures.

Other new names to me [though perhaps they shouldn’t be] are Jan Miller [lots of little treasures added to embroidery] and Catherine Slater [interesting felt, especially the figures].

The research was more pleasurable than writing essay plans but tomorrow I hope to do something a bit more creative!

1 comment:

Lesley said...

You can also download free trial versions of Mindjet MindManager and Mindview. I use a range of mindmapping software with my students and my preference is MindManager. With this you can throw ideas at the screen and then just drag them to link them. For essay plans, you can also send/export straight to MS word where the content appears in a list. Both packages much easier than Inspiration. Best wishes. Lesley