Network Learning Project: Final Results

Goal:  Engage in research to gain skills and knowledge of cake decorating; engage in an authentic learning experience to explore/discuss the facets of internet inquiry.

Attempt # 1

Cake

New Learning about:

Internet Inquiry Cake Decorating
When dealing with a popular topic, the sheer amount of information available can be overwhelming, so it’s important to read around a bit.  Hear who the dominant voices are on the subject and what they are saying. I found that Craftsy kept surfacing, so I read quite a bit and bookmarked pages that I thought I might want to consult in the future.  I also realized that Wilton came up quite a bit.
Work on articulating exactly what the initial focus should be and then build from there by identifying “next steps.” Continue research according to identified “steps.” I decided that I needed to first learn about tools necessary for decorating.  I consulted many websites and learned about the basic essentials. Then, I turned my attention to learning about types of frosting.  See NLP 1 for more details.
Since inquiry is about gaining knowledge and skills, this is the time to begin consulting the experts in the field to learn from their techniques and advice.  Sources might include YouTube videos, blogs, comments on blogs and conversations with others who are knowledgeable on the subject.  Essentially, this begins an extension of one’s Personal Learning Network to support new learning. I spent a considerable amount of time viewing videos and learning the terminology of the field.  As outlined in NLP 2, I learned about different types of tips and designs.  It was also great to watch how experts achieved perfection in their work and I paid close attention to any advice offered.
After watching the experts and taking note of their advice, examples, encouragement, successes and even failures, it’s time to try. At this point, it’s important to create a plan, so that the learner has a sense of the overall process. I made my first attempt at decorating.  While I was pleased with the results, I realized that I had much more to learn.  NLP 3 outlines my entire trial process.

Attempt  # 2

14

After the first practice, it’s important to take a moment, step back and reflect on what happened.  Some questions to consider include:  What did I learn about my process?  What did learn about myself?  What went well?  What challenges did I face? How will I navigate those challenges in future attempts?  At this point, what additional information is needed? I spent time reflecting on the questions outlined in column 1 and took notes about what I would like to do in the future.  My main goal was to begin to refine my skills and extend my repertoire.  As outlined in NLP 4, I asked the following questions:

1. How do I avoid having my cake stick to the turntable while adding layers of buttercream?

2. When layering buttercream, how much should I apply?  Is there such a thing as too much buttercream?

3. Should I allow time in between the first layer of buttercream and subsequent layers? I then went and found answers to my questions.

With new and extended information gained, it’s time to try again. This time, the plan should be more detailed and reflective of the learner–not as a novice–but as someone who is knowledgeable and on their way to becoming a contributor. I created a plan for my final decorating project and challenged myself with: creating multiple layers, make a homemade peaches and cream filling and include rosettes.

Attempt # 3IMG_0025

Cake collage

As I went through my final attempt for this project, I was reminded that I am still learning.  I found that I took some liberties with suggested recipes and then added comments to blogs about what I tried.  It felt empowering. I am also becoming partial to certain ingredients and learning new techniques.

What I can say for sure is that learning is a continual process and I am leaving this project thinking about time limits that are often set for classroom inquiry.  Realistically, we do  have time limits, but the key is to inspire learning to extend beyond the classroom so that students consciously use what they learn in our classes as lenses to see themselves and their world.  It begins with choice and passion and it continues with rich resources, experts, time to try and fail and try again, and it never ends.  I am already planning my next cake.

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5 thoughts on “Network Learning Project: Final Results

  1. Really nice! I like the color scheme you chose. I can’t seem to master the rosettes. I have a special kit for them, and I still struggle so they are very impressive to me. I am glad to know you are going to keep baking. Have you considered taking a Wilton cake decorating class? I always wanted to take one, but the timing usually coincides with a Zumba class. I will always choose fitness over dessert!

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    • Thanks. I had a blast! Actually, I have thought about taking a class. It is definitely something that I will look into once our program is over. In the meantime, I will be practicing in my kitchen.

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