Defying the cycle of thought…

Learning

When I think of the word screen, I think of sunscreen, a screen on a window, a screen leading to one’s backyard, screens around pools, and, of course, a computer screen. There is the idea of screening – of controlling how much a person can see, of editing something to fit on a screen, behind a screen, within a screen. At its core, a screen is a sort of barrier, and yet the nature of a screen is that it is not as strong as a cement wall, or glass, or brick. With a screen, there is room to breathe. A screen usually has tiny little holes in it – you can still see out of a screen, and someone can see inside of one. A screen is not used for privacy, but more so, just to separate one thing from another.

A computer screen, in particular, is used as a medium for displaying certain information, and keeping other information out of view. Someone can control what is seen on a screen, must like a writer can control what is included in a paper. The difference with a screen, though, is that it can be interactive. A “learning screen” can include both words and images, links, videos, different layouts and formats. A “learning screen” is not limited to a piece of paper. While a piece of paper takes distance away, because you can tangibly hold it in your hand, a “learning screen” creates distance because it cannot be held. However, one could argue this physical distance doesn’t matter, because a “learning screen” creates a sort of closeness that a paper cannot.

With a “learning screen” one can choose what to view. One can “screen” one’s own learning experience. With a paper, one is being told exactly what to read, in what order. A paper implies that the information is more fixed – there is less room for interpretation and bringing one’s own personality into the experience. While one can interact with a paper, question points, contradict concepts, include comments, make agreements, one can do so much more with a “learning screen.”

Also, with a research paper, there are strict guidelines. One must write a paper in a particular format. There is less room for creativity. There is less  individualization in a paper. Yes, one can write about a unique topic and put an interesting spin on it, but the creative outlet is limited. With a “learning screen,” the screening is done by both the creator and the audience. However, with a paper, this screening is more limited.

I personally loved the experience of working with a “learning screen.” It was exciting and new and I really felt like I had the ability to use my creativity. It was a refreshing feeling. While a paper, in some ways, is easier, because I feel like I have mastered the formula for writing an “A” paper, there was something thrilling about the challenge of utilizing the “learning screen.” Yes, it was harder at times, since this is something I have never done before. However, the freedom it allowed was like a breath of fresh air. I really feel like this blog is me. With papers, I feel like I have a voice and a style and this can be seen through my writing. But, this “learning screen” is different. I feel like my voice is stronger, has more power, more freedom. It is not so contained. There are guidelines, yes, but they can be toyed with creatively. With a “learning screen” you can put your mark on the page, make a statement.

Screens both create distance, and cause distance to dissolve. You can still feel the hot air from outside if you are standing inside a screen. You can still smell the flowers behind a screen. You can experience these things. But with a paper – something solid – all you see is the paper. All you feel is the paper. You cannot see beyond the paper. With a screen, you can. With a screen, you are less limited. There are holes – more room to move. More room to experiment.

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