Tuesday, May 20, 2014

#SOL You need a variety of resources to answer 21st Century questions!

There is a new guy in my life; however, like in all new relationships, there is a learning curve.  Al, as he will heretofore be referred to, is the smartest of all the cars in my long history of driving and is capable of doing many things I didn't even know cars could do! Yet, Al is already a challenge to me as he disrupts my old school way of thinking! 

When I was faced with my first new car challenge, I did what literacy specialists do, I opened the owners' manual and began reading it cover to cover!  It was daunting and I wondered if I might not be able to answer my question by reading the thick manual!  I tried using the headings to help me; however, there was no change the destination as a heading choice!  I would, I worried, be left with a navigation system, complete with an annoying voice, that would forever keep me driving in circles!

Yet, as I read closely and then reread in search of an answer about turning off the annoying voice, I found my mind drifting and connecting with my students trying to read complex texts. I get it, I might have uttered under my breath. It's hard when you have no background knowledge of a subject.  It's hard when the text is dense.  It's hard when you can't find your subject in a heading!  It's hard when you cannot find the answer you seek! While I never found the answer I sought in the book, at least I did do some effective reflecting about teaching and learning!

The next morning, however, I was left with a voice telling me incessantly to turn left and then left and then left again!  So, I did what young-un's rather than a literacy specialist might do, I started pushing his buttons!  It didn't take long to turn off that annoying voice either! 

I guess there might even be a central message in my story about Al (as in Einstein):  In the 21st Century, we need to explore a variety of resources (like pushing buttons, watching videos, talking with others, reading books and using intuition) to answer our questions. 


LInda Baie said...

I am contemplating a new car, Anita, and was just visiting my son & family, asked my daughter-in-law about all those 'bells & whistles'. She can answer her phone! She can see a picture of what's behind her! Anyway, I too connect with how we blithely ask students to do hard things, and understand that sometimes, they can't! Love that you connected this, and hope you figure out those 'new' things about Al very soon!

Jackie said...

Well, I know I will need a new car in the next few years....and now I wonder if I need to start learning about all the bells and whistles. I like how the directions you were reading allowed you to reflect about how students might have difficulties in reading instructions. Jackie

Tara Smith said...

Looking forward to replacing my old van this summer, Anita - but your slice gives me pause!

franmcveigh said...

Oh, I love this! I remember taking my mother and mother-in-law on a road trip to my son's graduation from Basic Training. I ignored the "recalculating" that often emanated from the gps. It drove them crazy!

Of course, I did consult my personal IT expert (AKA son) and learned how to shut off that voice. But I still laugh about the fact that "this times are a-changing!"

Bonnie K. said...

Loved this post Anita. What a thought-provoking way into the challenges of learning. This was always especially true with the writing process with or without the computer.
If we aren't sharing our own learning challenges what can we expect from them?

Ramona said...

A delightful reflection! I love the connections you make to close reading. Reading an owner's manual cover-to-cover. I consult mine on occasion, but must confess I've never read the whole thing.