About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Where do lost ideas go?

The summer is usually when I do my best blog posts. This summer (the first as a "Doctor" in which I will not be working on my dissertation), I am using my time to apply for jobs. This is very time consuming as there are many different requirements schools demand depending on the position. One of the jobs I am applying to is as instructor in writing and critical inquiry. Most writing positions demand a writing sample (which I'm having difficulty identifying as to what is relevant). So I decided to revise one of my previous blog posts.

Where do lost ideas go?

My process for writing my dissertation makes me wonder about what happens to ideas that are created and then lost while I write. I try to write at least two hours a day. When writing at home, I am often interrupted. As a result, I find I have to continually read what I have written and try to capture the thought I had. However, as I am creating the knowledge, what happens if it is lost? Was it truly an important thought? Upon rereading what I have written (in order to recapture an idea I might have lost), might I not create a deeper understanding of what I am writing? And where does that idea go that was lost? Is that lost knowledge? Or is it just part of the process of idea generation and knowledge building?

I occasionally see this with my own students, who have created a speech using PowerPoint. In their presentations, they will sometimes forget to mention something and may go back to it. I am continually asking them, however, how important that piece of information is for the audience to understand the speech. If speaker has forgotten to present a specific piece of information, perhaps it is not really necessary for the audience. The speakers may still have that knowledge in their head which allows them to understand what they are saying. In fact, that specific piece of information was a building block for presenters as they were creating their speech (and a basis for their speech as a whole), but the knowledge may not be necessary for the audience to understand the speech.

I think of it like a building that is built on the ruins of others. The original building creates a foundation and even a structure upon which a new building can be constructed. However, it is not necessary that the new building be constructed exactly the same as the original. More often than not it is improved upon, creating its own flavor or style. It is a unique creation in the end, which also can be built upon. This is the same for edits or lost versions of anything that we write. We may have a structure or framework from which to work, but our ideas evolve and become unique as we revise our writing (or try to reconstruct documents that have been lost because of computer glitches!).

It is difficult to let go of the lost ideas, just as it is difficult to create something new rather than going back to the original design. The process as we discard, change, and/or create something new helps us to have a deeper understanding in general of the topic. Writing helps us document our thinking, although not all thoughts will be put down. This might be the underlying reason for why project based learning creates a deeper level of learning than can be measured in a finished product or even a test.