Things I Know 246 of 365: I’m deciding to learn something new

True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.

– Winston Churchill

In my first weeks at SLA, I got a little terrified. I inherited my classroom midway through the first quarter. By the time I’d started thinking about getting my bearings another teacher approached me, “What are you planning for your benchmark this quarter?”
For what was the fiftieth time since joining the school, my heart stopped.
I had no idea.
I talked to Chris. It was a moment of intellectual cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Essays, he explained, could be projects.
I breathed again.
I can do essays. They are the coin of the realm for the bulk of schooling. Whether you believe the 5-paragraph essay is the devil or the first step to clean livin’, schools find ways to get kids writing essays. Take a look at standardized test scores and you won’t be able to turn around without bumping into a schools whose writing scores outpace reading, math and science.
I’ve got three major essays in the offing here at school. This is on top of the weekly essay assignments for two classes. Add to those the daily postings here, and I start to feel like the essay king.
It’s ok. Essays are my sport.
So, I’ve decided to take up a new sport – one I appreciate watching, but have no idea how to play.
I’m going to learn to create data visualizations.
In google reader, my “Infographics” folder is my favorite.
I’ve been quietly building my collection of resources in delicious.
After I complete my next two essays, I’m starting. Seriously.
As many people better versed in the visualization of data have written, information and making sense of it are the coins of the realm for the modern age.
This realization is my secondary drive. Most of all, I’m curious. It’s the same things that led me to open up and dissect every telephone I could get my hands on as a little kid. It’s what prompted me to mix rain water, onion grass and other things I found in my yard and leave them in the garage to see what happened.
I’m curious about something I don’t know. So, I’m learning a new sport.

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