As per the instructions for this task, I checked out the tech blogs readwriteweb.com and mashable.com. I immediately noticed a considerable difference between them. RWW is a very “tech” blog, most of the articles dealt with new tech and apps, some for hardware I’d never heard of, as well as trade & industry news. there were very few vox pop articles of the kind I am wont to read. I clicked on one about the perils of texting while driving and another on e-cigarettes (???), both of which were mildly interesting and informative. However, as I’m not a techhead, just someone who uses Facebook infrequently, plays games strictly on the PC and has an iPad, an iPhone and an iPod and probably uses about 1% of their capabilities, I found very little on the blog to interest me. This is clearly a blog for the tech purist who just lives and breathes the next app, the next indie game or the next takeover by Google or Microsoft.
Mashable was very different. Straight away my eyes lit on a stack of articles that grabbed me I cant resist lists and mashable threw “7 Oddball Things found on the Space Station” and “7 Apps You Dont Want To Miss” (now that’s I like to learn about new tech!) at me and I was hooked. The article headers were much more appealing to the general reader than those rww had and much less tech-oriented. There was plenty of tech stuff but it was clearly aimed at the casual reader and not the techhead. In the end I spent nearly half an hour on mashable as compared to about 10 minutes on rww and I have to say, of the two, mashable is the one I bookmarked and intend to return to. Nothing wrong with rww, its just not my cup of tea.
Then I moved on to searching for lifelong learning on the web. I have to say straight up that this is right up my alley, since I am one of the leading proponents of lifelong learning going around. Apart from the obligatory BA I earned in my early 20s with career prospects in mind, and my GradDip LibSci (which no-one seems to offer any more, its all Masters now), I have a second BA (Hons) and a recently completed PhD, all gained through nothing more than a desire to learn ( although with the PhD I did toy with the idea of an academic career, until I saw just how impractical that was for a pure dilettante like myself). I’m also a trivia nut and the type of person who reads dictionaries and encyclopaedias for fun, and just drools over lists of any kind, so you’ll see I’m very much on the pro side when it comes to lifelong learning, so you’ll see I was very much hoping to find viewpoints in that favour.
In any case, I did the obligatory Google search on “lifelong learning”. First up, of course, the Wikipedia entry. I do like Wikipedia, its the bee’s knees when you want what I call “quick & dirty” info on a given topic. You wouldn’t use it to write an essay or even a blog article, but if your curiosity has been perked by something you saw or read or you want to quickly settle a bar bet, then Wikipedia is A-OK. As it happens, Wikipedia informed me that lifelong learning is “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivatedpursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.” Since I totally agreed with that, particularly the “self-motivated” bit, I thought it was a pretty good start.
Then I checked out a definition of lifelong learning from The Free Dictionary, which informed me that lifelong learning is: “the provision or use of both formal and informal learning opportunities throughout people’s lives in order to foster the continuous development and improvement of the knowledge and skills needed for employment and personal fulfilment“, which I could agree with profoundly. However from there the search was all downhill, because although I was looking for debate on the pros and cons of lifelong learning about all I could find was web addresses for educational institutions, some reputable, others clearly less so, offering “opportunites for lifelong learning”. Although I did find a couple of articles on “How and Why to become a Lifelong Learner” and “the Attributes of the Lifelong Learner”, by and large it was a slightly disappointing search. However, at least what I found confirmed my own position on lifelong learning, so I’m happy with that.
So 2nd task satisfactorily completed, its onto task No. 3 “Google Everything”. Well, as I’ve just used a Google search in task No. 2, I shall have to instil some variety into the next search so it doesn’t end up being a repeat of No. 2.
Catch you next time.