Throughout this semester, I have researched Rock Creek Park as my commonplace from Ruben Castaneda’s book, S Street Rising. The research that I have conducted has both changed me and inspired me on issues I honestly never thought existed. I have analyzed the history of Rock Creek Park, the threats that face the park, and the urgent importance of preserving the park for future generations and future visitors. This project has been nothing I could have ever visioned, it has truly been a changing experience. The work that I have done has really brought research together on an extremely important place, and I hope all of you will enjoy reading about it HALF as much I as enjoyed conducting the research. Below is a link to my Mapping Commonplace project which is a prezi along with my reflection on the project, and other links for your enjoyment!
The research that I have conducted for my Mapping Commonplaces project has been interesting, engaging, and life changing. I began this process really uncertain of what I was going to do, how I was going to conduct the research, and put the puzzle together for an amazing project. The commonplace that I have from Ruben Castaneda’s S Street Rising is Rock Creek Park which is such an historic park. The park’s history is broadly unknown, but if so many people understood the history that it represents, they would visit the park every time they visited nearby. Washington D.C. is so known for so much, but an historical park is generally not one of them. So many people view Washington D.C. has the capital of the United States, the place where our government conducts their business, the location of the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and so much more. Washington D.C. is truly known as a political hub for the United States. So knowing all of this I was really unsure what to do. I knew that politics is the center of the place so do I connect Rock Creek Park to political activity. Through my research I knew that there were President’s like Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt among others who had a strong love and connection for Rock Creek Park. Rock Creek Park is also not far from American University, and I have heard that there were many students from the campus who would on occasion visit the park. I was unsure if I should connect the park to the campus by bringing the students involved in the project directly. At the beginning, that was the idea I was truly sold with. However, in all honesty, I was quite disappointed with the reaction that I received from students across campus. There were many who were not responsive, there were many who said they visited the park and would not participate, and there were even some who told me they visited the park, but changed their story once as I asked them to take part in the project. Now, that I knew that the idea of connecting it to the campus was off the table, I had to come back to thinking about a very creative idea that would incorporate places surrounding Rock Creek Park and that could really flow well with a project. Then, I finally made a decision. I knew that Glover Archbold Park was really not far from Rock Creek Park, and that if I could compare the parks, it would flow into a project. Then, I decided on a cloudy day to get up and visit Glover Archbold Park not far from the American University campus as well. There were not many people visiting, but I did find one woman who was walking her dog. I stopped to speak with her. She said she would not like to be videoed or recorded, but I could write down her thoughts on Rock Creek Park as opposed to Glover Archbold Park. Once I finished my day at the park, I went back to my dorm to try and put the puzzle together. I researched again on the articles and sources that I had already found based on my prior research. I found information that I had used from the past to try and put the puzzle together. I found the sources, and continued to re-read them. One of the things that I had difficulty with was figuring out what I did and did not want to use in the project. One of the reasons that this was so difficult was because there was a lot of information to use, but I did not want to overuse information because as someone who reads information, I know that I like shorter material with visual rather than a very long presentation. I will confess that I am not the most technical person, I am not great with iMovie or making videos, so the next decision that I had to make was to decide the format of the project.
Once I looked at all the options that were really available, I thought that for my needs, the project would be best suited with a prezi powerpoint presentation. The next challenge was going to condense the information in a prezi by also using words to ensure that the project was “multimodal.” The purpose of a “multimodal” project is to convey information in the best way possible by using different forms whether it be in writing, videos, pictures, multimedia, and a few other ways as well. The research of Rock Creek Park that I completed is one that some might remark on how hard or challenging it might be. There might be some who might also remark that it must also be very boring. In all honesty, and to be candid, it was not boring at all. At the beginning of the research, I truly did not know how it would go. Would I go in one direction or another? Use more pictures? More videos? I was truly and unsure and taking it as it comes. For a project, there are many who might not like that approach. But for me taking it as it came was truly the best approach possible. Thanks to that, I did not have a set way of doing it because if I did it would have probably made the project very painful and the process boring. The first time I ever typed “Rock Creek Park” into my search engine I was truly unsure what I would find. Where would it lead me? Would I like it? Would I hate it? I had truthfully never heard of the park. I never heard of “Mapping Commonplaces.” However, the uncertainties, the questions, the curiosity is now all gone. I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that I truly loved every single minute of this research. Where there challenges? Yes. Where there rough days? Yes. Where there days I got it wrong? Definitely. More than one. But I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to conduct this research because my mind is now far more opened to a new place and a park I might never have heard of if it were not for this project. I am so grateful for all that I have done, for what I have learned, and I truly can’t wait to continue in a forever love with the historic Rock Creek Park!!