About JennyE

AKA Jelly (as in the marine invertebrate), I am a student in the Marine Resource Management program at Oregon State University. Particularly fascinated by all things aquatic, I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others and inspiring them to take action to conserve natural resources. You can find me tidepooling or exploring the world via boat (any chance I can get)!

I’m feeling my way around.  The path branches out in several directions.  I explore one avenue hunting for clues that may have the insight I need, and then I try another route.   This is not a distracted wandering but a focused drive seeking creative possibilities.  In my search I encounter more questions.  Channeling my inner detective, I analyze methodologies and interview subject matter experts.   I turn concepts inside out and backwards.  Maybe if I think about them from a different angle, I will see details that I did not notice before?  There are moments of exhilaration, exasperation, and fascination.  The answers will not come to me on a silver platter.  I have to be patient with what develops while keeping the end goal in mind.  Thus the creative process of a project unfolds.

While working in the cyberlab I have been reflecting on the process of a project.  Our team has a goal in mind – to create a customizable research platform that will provide a setting for researchers to investigate free-choice learning, human and computer interaction, or sociology principles (to name a few).  We have many tools and resources to use, but more pieces are needed to reach our destination.  Seeking out advisors for assistance, their insight inspires more questions and new routes.  My personal comfort zone prefers this to be orderly and structured, but this confining mindset is breaking down, forcing me to question my grip on a pre-determined map.  Instead of traveling on a firm road, I am moving along a fluid river.  The comfort zone begins to stretch.

I am reminded of the idea to embrace the journey, whether it is related to a project for the cyberlab, graduate school, or life in general!  There is beauty in the iteration, the failed attempts, and the pieces that finally connect together.  The creative process requires patience and time.  Keep driving to design, refine, and reflect.  Great inventions and innovations require passion, persistence, and alterations.  All of this builds to learning and growth.  With this in mind, I am off to navigate the wild river.

I’ve plunged into the Free-Choice Learning Lab pool and now I am completely immersed in the world of cyberlearning!  As an incoming Marine Resource Management student, I am excited to support the efforts of Dr. Shawn Rowe and assist with the implementation of the cyberlab at Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC).  My work will be focused on the multi-touch table research platform that Katie and Harrison have previously blogged about.  This unique technology will provide an incredible opportunity to explore cyberlearning in an informal science setting.

Cyberlearning was a new term for me and the definition is still evolving between researchers, educators, and those in the technology field.  In 2008, the NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning initially defined the word as “the use of networked computing and communications technologies to support learning.”  A Cyberlearning Summit was held in January 2012 with 32 speakers giving TED-talk style presentations on topics that included digital learning using mobile technologies, collaborative knowledge-building through social networking, and scientific inquiry through online gameplay.  It was apparent how excited and passionate these speakers were on sharing their work and encouraging new methods for learning opportunities in different educational settings.

Blending emergent technology and educational content has sparked my imagination.  What could be possible for HMSC as a cyberlearning location?  It would be incredible to walk up to an exhibit and have the content personalized to my interests based on data collected from previous visits.  Is it possible for the exhibit to know that I was fascinated by the life in intertidal zone (based on my manual inputs or eye-tracking), and then present additional knowledge through an interactive game?  This game could simulate a tide pool and I would need to apply what I have previously learned to keep a digital sea creature avatar alive.  Then I could share my sea creature’s experience with my friends on social networking sites…hmmm.  So many research questions could come from this.  Exciting days are up ahead!