Mar 13, 2009

A call to action - join me!

Like many people across the USA and the world, I watched President Obama address Congress. I was particularly inspired by a statement on the subject of education that the President made:

It is our responsibility as lawmakers and educators to make this system work. But it is the responsibility of every citizen to participate in it. And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school; vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma. And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American.

As a trainer myself, I certainly do understand the value of furthering one's knowledge and capabilities. At the same time, I'm just like everyone else in that I have things that I know I've told myself I wanted to learn, but just haven't gotten around to. I think John Lennon, in his song Beautiful Boy, said it best: "Life is just what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

But after the President's speech last night, I've decided to take action - I am going to commit to at least one year of advancing my knowledge. And I'd like you to join me in that commitment. We certainly have a better chance of accomplishing our goals if we work together than if we all try going it alone. This project, if you will, is intended to be a two-way street, where I can share what I've learned with you, and where you can all share your own experiences with me and the others who decide to join. There's no pre-requisite other than a commitment to learn, and to share that what you learn. I also encourage users of all experience levels to join. We are all equals here, on the same level, all moving towards a single goal.

I'll have more details on how I plan on organizing and running this project, but the first and most important question is, what will we learn? I know that I've had a few things on my list for some time. At the same time, we'll want to choose something that has some relevance to the work we do today (so we can apply our knowledge and so that we are interested enough in the topic), but that significantly enhances our skills and gets us doing something more than just what we're doing today. We'll also want to choose a topic that we can realistically reach within a year.

Once we choose a topic, we'll set an overall learning goal, and milestones so that we can check our progress as we go along.

So are you with me?

Here are some of the general topics that have been on my own personal list (in no particular order): ActionScript, Scripting/Automation, Flex, and CSS/Web Standards. But of course, this is a community effort and so I'd like to hear from YOU. If you're interested in joining this project, please add a comment noting what specific topic interests you most. Then we can begin to take the next big step together - learning something together. I can't wait!

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