Logo of Learning Edge A while ago Colleen the consummate communicator “invited” me (and some other pals) to follow her lead and write about our Learning Edge (whatever that is). She got the notion from a guy called Adam Kayce: “His thought is that growth is contingent on continuous learning, and it’s up to each of us to continually re-ignite that passion for learning by going deeper — by finding the ‘edge’ that leads us in.” To participate, all we have to do is either embrace some new thing “with all the passion of a two-year-old on a playground” or else write about “what you’re into these days”.

The playground thing appeals, big time. On the other hand, I also know that I simply do not have time to dive into anything. If I did, I’d probably dive into intensive language lessons. After six years here I ought to be able to do better than a two-year-old in that department, but I just have not immersed myself enough or worked hard enough. Even half an hour a day gets pushed onto the back burner.

As to what I’m into and that lifelong learning thing, it seems to me that I am doing the same sorts of things I have always done, but doing them in the now rather than the then. I still write, but I do it on web pages and blogs, not magazines and newspapers. I still take photographs and mess with them, but digitally. I make items for radio and TV, as it were, and although they are not broadcast they are there if people care to listen and look.

Much of my learning has therefore been of a technical nature. That’s got me a somewhat geeky reputation, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a certain geekish pleasure in mastering some silly bit of tech. But there’s definitely more to it than that. One of the reasons I like to learn, and keep on learning, is that I have this need to feel that I know enough not to be snowed. I want to understand. Only then can I make choices and decide.

I suspect this is actually a rather rare condition. I know that a couple of my early books were motivated by my own desire to understand in order to act, and that I naively thought that other people would share that desire and, more importantly, the reason for it. They don’t. Of that I have become more and more convinced.

So in addition to geeky, I think people (colleagues?) perceive me as arrogant too. They probably think I’m picking unnecessary nits when I insist that “high-resolution 300 dpi” is meaningless, and that what they really want to say is “low compression and at least 2400 pixels across”. (Actually, the low compression thing is probably a tad too much detail.) Likewise my hatred of endless repetitive tasks -- which colleagues generally delegate -- when a machine is more capable.

Speaking of which, and in the interests of lifelong learning, I’d really like to track down the original source for “Machines work, people think”. Can you help?

Anyway, most of my learning has been to get to grips with new ways of doing old things. So I’ve taught myself rudimentary Final Cut Pro because iMovie wouldn't let me do interesting things. And I’m learning a bit about geo-referencing because I think it is cool and very useful. The list goes on, but I’m not sure it is all that interesting to anyone else.

One thing I do not seem to be able to learn is how to make all this learning work in my favour. Ideally I’d like to go back to being a fulltime freelance, with a new set of skills and new opportunities, but right now that looks untenable. So I’ll just keep on keeping on. Another thing I need to learn is how to overcome one of the hitherto unknown random facts about myself, viz.: if I don’t do it now, it won’t get done. And this post, more than two weeks after the original “invitation” is a step in that direction.

So, thanks Colleen. And thanks to the others who are participating, even though, at first glance, this post may seem a little more pragmatic and less cerebral than all the rest. Now, a dilemma: as I was invited, not tagged, do I have to invite others? It isn’t clear. I’ll just say that if you’re reading this and you like the idea, go ahead. Share!

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