Working with a group of people who each had the opportunity to individually form their own understanding of the topic helped me to personally clarify and expand my own understanding because they brought to light new perspectives that I had never considered. For instance, we, as a group, added the key terms ‘Imperialism’ and ‘The Congo Free State’ to our list of what was the most important, which I had not even considered before because I had been focused more on details and specific stories than on the basic foundation terms. Also, as a group, we came up with a new enduring understanding that I had not considered before I heard others weigh-in on the topic. Realizing the trend that it is generally easier for people to abuse and control those who are in less fortunate places than themselves seems like a very obvious idea, but still it was a lense that I had not consciously thought about until a member of my group mentioned it. Overall, the discussing and sharing of ideas was very helpful for me because, in multiple situations, it got me to expand upon my line of thinking as well as my understanding.
As we progressed from discussing our topic and agreeing on what we thought was important, we began to create the photo essay. The process of creating the final photo essay for this project evolved a lot over the course of it’s creation. Initially, we wrote 4-sentence paragraphs explaining each image in great detail and linking it back to one of the themes (people, places, or power). Through trial and error, we realized that this would not work with the time limit and were forced to pull out only the most important bits of information. Although doing all of the unnecessary work to create such long explanations then shorten them may have not been the best or most efficient way to go about creating our project, it was helpful in a way because it got us to really consider what was important and why. For group presentations in the future, I will keep in mind this process and try to get my group, as well as myself, to begin by only using the most important information so that we don’t have to waste as much time with trial-and-error because the time we wasted on this extra step did make it so I had to do additional work outside of class to keep up.
To see the final project: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1zyb8RxrS_sJYdLuG98ulUoWx7sCYA9a3tNTfi5EDYAw/edit?usp=sharing