Thomas Jefferson, Twitter and Tinker (v. Des Moines). Oh My!

16 Feb

Well, ladies and gents, may I be the first to say congratulations. Who, you might ask, am I congratulating and why in the world would I do that. To quench the curiosity, I am congratulating the ladies of the AP US Gov class.  Because after hitting the ground running in the foreign territory that is an online class, I have been astonished and vastly impressed by the content of what they have to share and I think the ladies deserve some serious recognition. Starting this course, I will admit I was nervous. And like some of my classmates, I was a little intimidated by the requirements of the online structure. As a technological neanderthal and a second semester senior, I was worried my own ambition and motivation would be hindered (to say the least) and that simply, I wouldn’t have much to say. I’ve noticed, though, that over the past four weeks, discussion spurs more discussion and it seems we inspire more thought in each other. Ultimately, the speed at which these four weeks have passed is a testament to the quality of work and effort put in, as well as a healthy amount of enjoyment we’re getting out of this class.

Naïve Sarah, pre-AP US Gov

Between the independence, the internet– a classroom alternative, the multi-media learning and discussion-based lessons, the class so far has provided an innumerable amount of perspectives and methods of grasping and understanding material. In this day and age (excuse the cliché), with so many history-making events happening in the US as well as the rest of the world, not to mention the complexity and volume of ideas and opinions that litter our internet, newspapers, magazines, TV screens, etc., I find it exceedingly valuable to be able to interpret and analyze multiple forms of information across multiple disciplines. Additionally, since the class began, I’ve started to see and appreciate more and more the ways in which government affects our lives on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s a traffic light on the street or my ability to post whatever I please on this blog without having to worry about being punished for it (don’t worry, I’ll keep things PG) we often forget how much the government really shapes our lives.

Generally speaking, one thing I really value being able to do in my life is planning ahead. Before you jump to any conclusions that may lead you to believe I am a control freak, let me explain. In taking this course, I am planning ahead. By partaking in a multitude of new technologies, learning about government itself, one of the most prominent forces in our lives and doing so at my leisure and in the comfort of my own home (I will admit, the majority of my discussion answers have been written from my bed), I’m getting a leg-up on the ways of the future (excuse the corny somewhat canonical phrases). I feel that I’m not only learning about crucial aspects of government, but I’m learning skills and independent work habits that this course requires– all of which I will most definitely take with me to college and beyond.  

Just as I’ve learned that government builds upon itself and relies upon its separate parts to function well, I’m excited to see how we as a class build upon each other’s ideas and opinions and function together as a unit. Between partner projects (which I am really enjoying, not just the process of going in depth on a subject, but getting to know some of my classmates a little better), discussions, videos, voicethreads, etc., I look forward to all that this course has to offer for the remainder of the year. So once again, congratulations on a sensational start and I wish you all the best of luck!

P.S.– If you ask me, Thomas Jefferson would be proud.



Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Learning


7 responses to “Thomas Jefferson, Twitter and Tinker (v. Des Moines). Oh My!

  1. Marian Olivas

    February 17, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Sarah — Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the online class format. It is encouraging to see that the format is working in an AP class and that you are still able to interact with classmates by way of partner projects. Do you use the online format for specifically assigned materials or do you also all wade into the multitude of materials available online and have to assess their veracity and usefulness?

    • saraheshspeaks

      February 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      Hey Marian,
      Thanks for reading my post. To answer your question, we are guided by our teacher as to how to navigate the depths of the internet in order not to completely drown in a sea of information whose credibility is, for the lack of better words all over the place. Additionally though, having structure in the course I find also greatly helps to pare down the materials we can actually use.
      Thanks for reading!

  2. Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs)

    February 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

    What a gifted writer you are! You have definitely joined a conversation, and the world will be better because you did. Thanks for sharing your warm humor, your rich insight, and your ingenious blog titles. John Tinker, et al. would be proud of you as you exercise your freedom of speech! You go, girl!

    Denise Krebs

    • saraheshspeaks

      February 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks Denise!
      For my first ever blog post your praises are well received! Through this gov class I’m beginning to understand and appreciate more and more how the government affects our daily lives and simultaneously feel more secure about forming my own opinion.
      Thanks a bunch!

  3. Ross Mannell

    February 19, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Hello Sarah,

    It would seem the technological neanderthal has undergone accelerated evolution. 🙂 I like the description. Having worked with computers since 1975 and in schools since 1981, it would almost seem I started in the Neanderthal era. It’s nice to know there are still those evolving.

    With the development of online technology allowing us to share with the world, your assertion, “I find it exceedingly valuable to be able to interpret and analyze multiple forms of information across multiple disciplines” is very much a sign of the times. Having the choice of returning to simpler times or continuing to meet the challenges of new technology would have me decide the past might be a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

    Learning independent skills and work habits will most certainly help you in college. While there will be tutorial groups and lectures, much study and work preparation will depend on your ability to work independently and be able to apply yourself to a task.

    Since your title includes Thomas Jefferson, I thought I’d add a quote I had on file. In it, he may have been referring to the development of an American standard English but I thought it could also be applied to new technology.

    “The new circumstances under which we are placed call for new words, new phrases, and for the transfer of old words to new objects.”
    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) – Written in a letter to John Waldo in 1813

    Had Jefferson access to today’s technology, I believe he would have embraced it. In my opinion, Thomas Jefferson was a person who looked to the future, so should we.

    Teacher, NSW, Australia

    • saraheshspeaks

      February 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      First and foremost, thanks so much for reading my blog post! I really appreciate the insight from an individual who (from what I can sense) has spent a whole lot of time and effort in education, technology and US History/government.
      I also loved the citation you chose. It seems completely quintessential of Jefferson’s theories and goals in terms of the relationship between the people and their government. Change is the only constant, as they say and to adapt to the changing times we must first adapt to change itself.
      Again, thanks a bunch and I hope to hear from you again!

  4. Chris Cole

    February 27, 2012 at 9:24 am


    My gov class in Dallas, TX (Parish Episcopal School) has also been using twitter and the internet in depth to learn and discover different topics on government. In fact, we used twitter in class today to share our thoughts on the Electoral College. I will admit that tweeting and using blogs such as yours is 1000x nicer than writing long essays by hand, but thats just me. Also, do you enjoy using twitter as a connection resource for your government class? Our class twitter is @ParishGOV if you’re interested in following and hearing our thoughts as well!! Thanks and have a great day.

    Chris Cole


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