The Two Things in Technology
I am getting cranky in my old age, and that must be clear to the many people I encounter in my life. Maybe I have been at this teaching “thing” for too long to be as flexible as I was in my younger days. Lab reports? Gotta be just right! Problem-solving? Follow the process, show units! Lab activities? Know why you are here! And put away your materials after you are done!
OK, so I need to soften on some things.. but there are two areas where I am absolutely steadfast in my approach. Indulge me for a moment in a conversation:
- Student: Mr. Quinton, I have a question – could you come here?
- Teacher: … and so this is where the menu is…
- Student: Oh, thanks – I don’t have a Mac so I don’t know how to do this
“I don’t have a Mac” is a valid answer for some people and often stated as an excuse for not knowing how to do something. The real journey we are taking is one of context. The real voyage involves identifying the need, seeking a tool to find the answer, and then delving deep enough to obtain what we wish. In other words, “I don’t use Macs at home” has no relevance because the paradigm has shifted. Every mass-produced operating system uses menus. Every operating system groups tasks in these menus. Every operating system is bent around the idea that the user is in control of the system, and not the reverse. “I don’t use PC’s” would only be relevant if Windows machines and Macs operated on completely different ideas. You may not know exactly where an item is located (believe me, I have struggled when jumping from one to the other) but I know it is there to find. Make the computer bend to your will, and not the other way around. Empower yourself with the idea that you CAN INDEED find and do what you wish and – guess what – you will. It is the belief of this that will make you grow.
Let’s Go Fishing
The second conversation sort of flows from the first, but in a broader way. Conversation number two:
- Student: I read the instructions and I still don’t know how to do this
- Teacher: Have you tried doing a quick search?
- Student: ???? (dude – just answer my question)
- Teacher: ????
What is that proverb… teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for life? Exactly! My greatest gift to you is to expect much and help you reach and achieve what you wish. My role is to support your learning and not to limit you by my attitudes. All I ask is that you believe that you can do this. Don’t limit yourself with limiting attitudes. Reach for what you wish with the knowledge that you CAN find what you need. I will provide the pole: let’s bait the hook and get fishing!