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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

You Must Be A Self Directed Learner

Stamp by Josef Albers reading Learning Never Ends

We discussed in class this week why the staff has been instructed by me not to do your work for you. Lindsey and Becca explained that many students exert no effort on their own before seeking help in the Lab. I have experienced that myself.

I talked about an example of the opposite kind of behavior. Edna Montgomery came to the lab seeking help. Her problem was that could do, and had done, her sentence videos on the Macs in the lab but she could not repeat that process on her personal iMac. She asked me why that was the case. I did not know. I asked her what she had done. She had taken all of the steps that I thought were reasonable. No Lab assistant was there who knew how to solve the problem which was how do you record yourself using iMovie using the new iMovie software on a new iMac.

I had to figure it out on my own, just like you will have to do most of the rest of your life. You may encounter problems, like Edna did, and it is absolutely appropriate to seek help. There are lots of sources, including the Help button, Google, Lab Assistants, and other students. I was standing there and she asked me. That was quite appropriate. She had experimented with several things which she thought might solve her problem. They did not. I expressed great curiosity in the problem so I joined her in the quest for a solution.

What did I do? I repeated Edna's approaches since they seemed reasonable and I wanted to make sure that there was nothing in that effort that led to the lack of success. I got the same result she did. I then tried several ideas of my own. They did not work either. After having made a sincere effort to solve the problem, I clicked on the Help button. I reviewed New Things in iMovie. None of that applied but there was a link How to Import A Movie. Since that was what we were trying to do, I read that article. I then followed the prescribed steps. It appeared that that effort did not work either. I tried again and Edna checked off the steps on the Help page as I did them. Still no success it appeared. Several more tries with slight changes yielded no result. I then looked carefully at the screen and scrolled down on a portion of the screen where I expected to see the movie. I found most of my movies that I had done while following the directions on the Help screen. I then threw all of that away and arched while Edna did it by herself. She was successful and literally shouted for joy.

What does this tell us about what we expect from EDM310 students?

You have to have made a good faith effort to solve the problem before you ask for help. One of the objectives is to prepare you to be an independent, lifelong learner.

You must be seeking to learn, not to complete a task which is what a lot of students seem to be seeking.

Even when you follow directions, you may have to explore some more.

Insisting that you work on a solution before we help you is an absolutely necessary teaching approach which you must incorporate into your practice. Some EDM310 students seem to think that is rude, or inappropriate. That is not the case at all. Teachers can demonstrate but they must not do the work. Students must be learners, not a scribe. We all learn by doing.

In addition, you must understand that you, as a teacher, will never "know it all" as some EDM310 students insist is the case. That will never be the case so prepare yourself to be a lifelong learner.

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