A joke about getting where you want to be
This post is mainly about education and where the idea for IT elements came from, but we start with a joke, which I will paraphrase to protect the normal scapegoat:
- Tony,…would you know how I get to Fordingsaxmundley*
- Well, that’s a tricky one. I definitely wouldn’t start from here.
(*A made up village in Suffolk. It was mentioned in the Doomsday book. Local legend has it that nobody has found the village since 1936!)
Learning stuff can be a bit like that. Not knowing where to start? The normal way that formal education** begins is with someone creating a syllabus or a curriculum – probably a clever person who only uses long Greek or Latin words with complicated plurals! Then the same or other people will determine some learning objectives, create the material (words, pictures, activities etc.), and publish or otherwise disseminate the said material. The stuff normally follows a linear progression; something like:
- Explain what is to be taught
- Teach it
- Test understanding
- Start again
That’s all good then. Well no not really, because the Learner hasn’t been mentioned yet. It’s bit like developing a new product or IT system without thinking about the Customer or User…which unfortunately people in my industry still do 🙁
(**Ed. Apologies to real educators I am exaggerating for comic effect! There are many models for teaching & learning and enlightened & visionary teachers out there.)
But what about the learner!
Here are some questions and problem statements from learners:
- I don’t know what I don’t know
- I want to know a bit more about Computers but I don’t know where to start
- I can’t sign up for a long complicated course. I want to consume the information in small easily-digestible packets.
- So what is The Cloud, Big Data, what’s the difference between the internet and the web, are mobile, wireless, and WiFi the same things, and where did I leave those keys?
- I have no money/time/energy to be a student…or do more studying than I already do
- Those tweets won’t write themselves!
Do you recognise any of these statements? If ‘yes’, then you’ve come to the right place. You may not be a millennial – a child of the digital age – and you may not be embarking on a brave new career, with or without computers, but I hope there’s something here for you to find interesting, informative, and maybe even life-changing!
I will start you off with 3 of my bite-sized learning chunks. Dip in, let me know what you think; are they the right length and difficulty, are you inspired to learn more, are you looking for a broader or deeper understanding?
Comment here or Ask the IT Chemist
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(c) 2015-16 IT elementary school
(This post was originally published in February 2015 as part of a 30-day blogging challenge)