Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Learning Takes Mentors, Persistence, and Lots of Practice!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 
The traffic was backed up before I even reached the exit for I-5.  Not a good sign.  I knew there was a way to get where I needed to go without the freeway, so I took the first possible exit.  I looked for a good place to stop so I could search for the address and plug it into my phone.  I hoped that if I headed away from the freeway, that I'd be directed to an alternate route.  No such luck!  Every direction was turn right, turn left, turn right, get on I-5.  One right turn landed me on a narrow street behind a truck with the door open, and no driver in sight.  After honking several times, I gave up and managed to turn around on the narrow street to go back the way I had come.  I tried plan 2, I phoned my doctor's office to tell them I was stuck in traffic, and I asked for directions so I could get there without the freeway.  The receptionist couldn't help, so I did the next best thing - I turned right, turned left, turned right, and got back on the freeway.  The last three patients had also been delayed by traffic, and I was only 20 minutes late.  (Daughter informs me that there's a way to tell the map program that you don't want to use the highway - future learning opportunity.)

I've been blessed to visit my daughter in New York this summer and to have a quick visit from my son and his wife.  I always have a few computer/iPad/phone questions for them. I try hard not to ask too many since I don't want to wear out their willingness to help. Some of my best learning comes when my children see me do something "the wrong way" or as I like to call it "the long way."  Even though they've pointed out how to get to my camera quickly by swiping up, I usually forget and end up unlocking the phone, entering my password, going to apps, and clicking on camera.  I've actually remembered "the quick way" a few times recently!

My son watched me searching for something by going to Safari and pointed out how to reach the Search iPhone feature with one quick swipe down from the middle of the screen.  Wow, that new learning may change my life.  (However, I had to call him just now so he could remind me what he had shown me that was new on my phone.)  It would be great if I could report that I just got my iPhone, but unfortunately that is not the case.

While visiting my daughter in New York, she hooked me on a series she's watching - The Good Wife.  She assured me that we could access it, but it took hubby some time to figure out how to access it on Hulu through our Tivo.  I noticed that even though he didn't know "how" to do it, that he just kept "trying" different things until he discovered how to do it. Then he did it again with me watching, then he handed me the controller so I could do it myself.  And then I did it again.  I can happily report that I was able to find and watch an episode without any phone calls to him or my children!

Today was our third book club via google hangout.  Two of my good friends have moved away, so we decided to hold "three musketeer" book club meetings.  They are not on a regular schedule since we must first be sure that all of us have finished the book and then find a time that we can meet.  Our first hangout was with my daughter present, so she set things up for us.  For our second meeting, another friend's daughter helped her before the meeting, and with a couple of calls for extra assistance from her genius children, we finally figured it out.  For today's meeting, I was supposed to talk with my daughter for a quick refresher.  I didn't think of it until she was already in bed (I hate that 3 hour time difference), so another friend volunteered to figure things out.  I was unable to link up with the two of them, so we used a 3-way conference call to discuss the book.  After our meeting, I was messing around on the computer and figured it out.  The one friend wasn't near her computer and missed the call, but the other friend answered.  We celebrated that I had figured it out through trial and error!

A few take aways for student learners (and that is all of us):
1.  We can benefit from learning beside someone who can watch and coach.  My son had no idea that I didn't know how to access the Search iPhone feature, but by watching me he discovered something I needed to learn.
2.  If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.  If one method or path doesn't work, try another.  Keep at it until you are successful.  Then celebrate that success!
3.  When you figure something out, do it again, and again, and again.  My children's piano teacher always insisted that they play a phrase or line correctly three times before moving on.  Practicing correctly is an essential part of the learning process.  


  1. "Future Learning Opportunity" and "The Long Way" are phrases I will remember as I start to think about heading back into the classroom for another year of fun.

  2. You are so right, Ramona! Learning by doing and having a purpose drives learning. I know there are so many tricks on the phone, but how does one learn them, since they don't come with manuals anymore?

  3. Loved hearing this. There are so many little things that the IPhone or IPad can do that I am still discovering. Great that you applied it to school-of course! And I don't like when teachers say, "do you understand?" & the student nods. It's then time to let them practice, as you say, before you assume they know. Here's a link I found helpful with the phone: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/things-you-didnt-know-your-iphone-could-do

  4. Love this post, Ramona! My son (who doesn't have any devices himself but somehow knows all this stuff) is constantly teaching me new shortcuts on my iPhone! It's hard to learn when you don't know what you don't know! An important lesson for all of us. Also, I love "the long way". Too funny! Your focus on learning by doing and purpose-driven learning makes me reflect on just how often I provide enough classtime to do and enough freedom for students to develop their own purposes.

  5. Such good reminders. And I love The Good Wife...the person who plays Will was in Dead Poet's Society as one of the students, Knox.

  6. I love how you relate all of your experiences in this post to learning, Ramona! I particularly like your first takeaway, that by observing our learner, we can help identify what or where they are struggling. By the way, I am having a difficult time with Google Hangout, as well. I normally attach new tech stuff but, for some reason, I'm really afraid of Google Hangout! I will have to give it a trial-an-error effort :-)

  7. There's so much amazing stuff to comment on in this post. Sounds like an incredible visit, Ramona!