February 25, 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!

27 comments:

Jory Dayne said...

I'm with you on Action Scripting -- I'd also like to round out my skill set within Illustrator; there's a lot of techniques I need to get my head around. Also, I'd like to figure out the XML/Dynamic features in InDesign and Illustrator.

johnfeld said...

Yes, going to get the UC Berkeley Extension catalog today.

Aaron said...

I'm in - this is a great idea! I'm interested in getting up to speed with CSS/HTML and would also like to increase my Illustrator skills.

Rhonda Michelle Steward said...

Great idea Mordy! I'm on board for CSS/Web Standards - since it affects so much of our web experience this is an important topic for me to understand more.

heather said...

I'd like to learn more about CSS/Web Standards.

Zachary Schweitzer said...

I think i'm in the boat with everyone else on this in being interested in furthering my knowledge of css and web standards. i think this could be a phenomenal community project.

Eric said...

Flash and InDesign are gaping holes in my Adobe experience. Count me in.

JG said...

I know all. I see all. Since I already know everything there is no need for me to learn anything else.

I kid, I kid...

...or do I?

No seriously, Action Scripting is something I always meant to get around to, but every project I somehow "got around" it. I'd be interested in buckling down and learning some of that.

Jeremey said...

Sounds like a great idea!
I also would like to learn more about the XML features in InDesign. Learning more about Acrobat - I use it daily but feel I've just scratched the surface. More CSS and Action Scripting would be very beneficial too!

Dalin Brinkman said...

CSS/Standards won't take a year. Shoot, it took me a good book.

Actionscript, that opens up a new door of opportunity. Every Flex app is built off of actionscript (or MXML making actionscipt). So if you learn AS, you are covering a whole lot of flex already.

AS is best learned by project based work.

There's my two bits!

Richard said...

Count me in. CSS is one theme I find would help me. I also agree that learning about the XML features in InDesign would be a benefit too, as would Action Script, because anything to do with coding throws me into a daft tizzy!

Jack Cole said...

I'm with you, too - I thought this was a particularly inspiring message, and I'm glad I still love to learn (thanks to my teachers and parents).

Action Script and Illustrator techniques are two areas I could always learn more. I'm also doing a lot these days with bringing IL/PS work into After Effects for motion graphics, so anything that would help me get more from that would be great, too.

Scott said...

I too am/have been on a personal quest to get up to speed on XHTML/CSS, and have a long way to go. I'd like to continue down this road in the next year. Along the way I'm also going to finally dip my toe in the Flash pool. The other subjects will have to wait for now. Thanks, Mordy.

Kurt said...

I concur. I'm stumbling through teaching myself photoshop. I'm breaking down and taking classes.

On a similar note, I am trying to get lab color on illustrator. It's illustrator 10. Is this futile? I've read your blog on it and was wondering if there is a lab swatch library somewhere that can be opened in illustrator?

Thanks.
Kurt

Kurt said...

I concur. I've stumbling with teaching myself photoshop. I'm signing up for class.

On a similar note, I read your blog entry about lab colors and OPP. Is there a lab color swatch library that can be installed on Illustrator. I'm dealing with Ill 10. Is this futile?

Aongus said...

Great idea! I'm interested in ActionScript or CSS/XHTML.

Gary Spedding, Ph.D. said...

I will comment on the approach you might take on this as the ideas for topics sound great to me. I just signed up for a watched the first of 10 free lessons on line for Photoshop. This is put on by Creative Techs (http://creativetechs.com/tipsblog/) and they may do one on InDesign too. I am not suggesting you put on anything near that magnitude (1000 participants) but something similar (with required feedback to fulfill your mutual teaching/learning)might work. Mini-podcasts here or how about at MOGO? Not much on MOGO recently - maybe a set of short classes could work for them too? {You have posted there before and at one time I thought it was your site MoGo - especially as you were one of the first to advertise it).

Anyhow just a few tidbits of food for thought on this. I'll be happy to join in on this tour-de-force. Though as just a player with Creative Suite apps and not a designer I am not sure what I could teach in return.

Hope it works out and it should be a success with you behind it.

daniel said...

I'm interested in CSS and enhancing my Illustrator skills

Anonymous said...

I've got a great idea today! Just a few minutes ago I was looking for a way to display the date of the day in a form field in Acrobat.

So I was searching for it via google and then I found a solution: A javascript.

Let's all learn javascript together. You can use it for websites AND for print jobs to because every Adobe program (I guess so cuz its possible in Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat) is able to use javascript.

What do you say about this idea :)?

Mordy Golding said...

I'm thrilled so far with the response! It sounds like CSS and ActionScript are definitely the front runners. I'm leaning towards maybe taking on both of those - I'll have more details shortly. JavaScript is a wonderful idea considering that you can use it across the board not only for websites, but also for all Adobe apps (including Illustrator). The interest doesn't seem as high for JS, but that doesn't mean we can't consider it.

I should have more information next week as I continue to develop a way to manage this project :)

thouartbecky said...

I would love to be apart of this. My motto has always been "Everyday I learn something new is a good day" I need all the help I can get with anything associated with web-based knowledge. As a print designer and prepress technician, never developed those skills. I know this has limited me. I'm in!

Chunk said...

Javascript would be great, I'm currently fighting my way through CSS & HTML now.

Dave Andreu said...

Mordy, I'm a 19 year old student, currently studying business administration and accounting (in Montreal, Canada). I have a passion for design and I'm currently developing my own design firm with two colleagues - It's been a long and arduous year, trying to build a firm from scratch along with it's own personality but I'm getting there, slowly.

I must say, no one teacher has inspired me to want to learn more about design than you have. I'm an avid Lynda.com subscriber and I only wish you made more videos ( yes, I've begun to enjoy the color yellow after a while haha! )

So yes, my answer is yes, I'll commit to learn something I've wanted to learn for a long time. The how-to's of basic web design and maintenance. I'll take as much as I can soak in.

I know I'm not from the U.S. but it really shouldn't make a difference; a call to education is universal.

I think everyone should remember that "Ignorance is more expensive than education". - Donald J. Trump

Keep me, or rather, us, posted. I'm in.

MiddleAges said...

Actionscript is my vote.

Sean Hodge said...

I'm in. I want to improve with Drupal and illustrating with Illustrator and Photoshop - especially where illustration intersects with web design, like icons and illustrative website design. I'll have to start doing more tutorials. Thx.

Rob said...

Definitely count me in. I would love to learn new ways to be creative in illustrator and photoshop. I also want to learn more about Dreamweaver and just started on Flash and want to learn more. I live on Long Island Mordy so if you ever need assistance in gettting a community project going I would love to help. I also love to tutor the things I know. It's all a learning experience.

videorob@verizon.net

Luka V said...

Hi
Thank you very much for your great idea. It would be a pleasure to participate. I'd really like if we could learn about CSS/Web Standards. Please do count me in.