I have just read a colleague’s post, Lessons of a Broken Window, over at The Learning Curve blog. The author, Chris Shriver, describes her son’s persistence as he practices throwing a baseball, even though a few of those pitches have broken windows. He has not let the occasional problem or temporary roadblock keep him from learning and fine-tuning his throwing skill as he seeks to become more expert at pitching.
I am spending three days with technology colleagues from a wide range of schools, and all of us are learning more about the ever-increasing technology tools in our lives. At a conference, held on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the goal is to discover, share, and learn as much as we can. We are continuously modeling appropriate behavior, discovering and exploring new technology devices and websites, mastering new skills, and figuring out how to manage our online social media personas rather than letting those personas manage us. All of this information will return to school with us, helping students learn and supporting parents as they confront complex and confusing digital parenting issues.
My fellow conference attendees demonstrate their teaching and learning expertise by the way they share enthusiastically and by the way they unabashedly ask for help if they are confused. Of course, this event attracts engaged and capable people who never fail to roll up their sleeves and start solving new, unfamiliar, and sometimes daunting technology problems. Yet even we ed-tech folks can be uncomfortable as we confront new and very different material.
Adults in today’s digital world — parents and teachers — continuously watch children gain knowledge in strange and disconcerting areas. As we try to keep up with them, we regularly encounter roadblocks, just like those broken windows, and it’s not always easy for us to proceed with determination or with grace. Yet the greatest gift that adults can give to children is to demonstrate to them, over and over, that we can encounter discomfort and roadblocks in this virtual world and still be eager and lifelong learners.