I am reading a brilliant book at the moment that was suggested to me by a friend thus:
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The book “Bounce” is by Matthew Sayed. Here is a video in which he explains the ideas in the book:
Now you may ask what the making of champions has to do with my learning. Well I have realised that all learning is about practice and learning from feedback which for much of the time is about failure.
I have learnt to become proficient at computers (so much so that my wife now calls me a geek!). I am not an expert in the sense of many young people who can wipe the floor with me in programming a computer, hacking another computer or database or fixing something that goes wrong.
I get by though in accessing the web, in storing websites that interest me, in communicating with others through social networks like Twitter,Facebook and my present favourite Google Plus. I have a lot of knowledge about developments in technology that may baffle people a lot younger (and less knowledgeable) than me. I have written about augmented reality and am aware of some new ideas coming from Silicon Valley because I keep in touch with people who know these sort of things.
I haven’t been taught any of these things. I have explored Internet Explorer, then Firefox and latterly Google Chrome. I got to know how to work these browsers by trying things, often they didn’t work and so I had to try again. I persevered (which is a scaled down version of Sayed’s “practice”) I found out how to save, how to send, how to look up history.
I did the same with learning about the wide wide world of Google Apps. I found Documents a bit difficult to fathom at first but eventually learnt just how useful they were. Recently, I did a presentation to some newly qualified teachers and showed them a presentation using a word-processed document of useful links and also a spreadsheet all made from Google programs. I have used Prezi to show at presentations and have experienced the “wow” factor when I have zoomed into the next picture, quote or shown a video.
I have loved the freedom to explore this exciting world and have gone wrong so many many times. Yet I have learnt so much. Will I ever become a world authority in computers? No. Will I set the world on fire with my technological wizardry? I don’t think so.
We are not talking champions here (but then again Matthew Sayed wasn’t talking just about champions in his book). We are talking about how we learn… through trial and error, through practice and through dedication. There is so much that teachers can learn from this book… that we need to let children go wrong so that they can learn. That we need to let children have the chance to explore their passions and practice as often as possible so as to become proficient and who knows exceptional.
I am often asked by friends who have seen my blog how I made it look as good and how I got the pictures and videos in it and the links to other posts…. well I didn’t have to work so hard for that… I just used the excellent platform provided by WordPress. I have learnt to use the buttons effectively and can spellcheck my posts and decide what pictures to use (from the many recommended) and which links to use. I can decide which tags to use and have used various apps to link my posts to social networking sites so as to gain maximum publicity.
If I had been told a year or so back that I would have reached the levels of proficiency that I have reached now in writing and presenting a blog, I would have thought it unlikely to say the least. But I have managed to reach a reasonable level through day to day attention to learning and through making a lot of errors along the way. So please excuse the odd typo that misses the net of the spellchecker!
I have called this post “The only way I learn” and in fact it is the only way that any of us learn, not by reading a book, or by following the words of a wise man (or woman) but by practice and by dedication and by having the time and freedom to get the chance to do things and often get it wrong and try to understand what I have to do to get it right the next time.