Tell me an order –
- From top to bottom or
- is it top down?
- From beginning to end
- but the learning never stops
Interactive to-do list
scroll up, scroll down
sideways is for walking
or dodging while distancing
not for this app.
Scrolled learning (resumed)
“Messy learning made tidy!”
“Clear instructions, clear demonstrations, clear outcomes!”
“Turn up, tune in, take off – your learning adventure can begin!”
I think of all the promises
we heard and wished
in our heart of hearts
they could be true.
All the while knowing
that for learning to
take root and become a growing thing
it’s the messy parts
that make it even
An app can work wonders with things
count, sort, tag, track and archive –
measure, deliver, broadcast, keep –
link, link, link and link again –
An app can give us the impression of movement
a single stream of discrete activities
flashes and pops as we scroll down;
our learning past:
a straight line collage,
an imagined education
in snapshots and clips,
yet nothing designed
For that would halt the
of consumable tidbits.
Because in order to make this all work,
to handle the volume of posts,
it’s important to prune the feed,
to archive the couple days’ old content
and put it nicely out of view.
Out of sight, out of mind –
but here it means
out of the way
of what’s next,
of what’s coming up.
What it is not
An app is not a brain.
Constructed with code; clever.
It tells us which way it will work
and which way it wont.
Brains develop and adapt
That’s what they do.
We can’t pay a platform to adapt,
entreat an app to be more flexible.
An app is not a brain.
The platform is not a curriculum.
But why does it seem like we are just learning these things
As if this were news?
Even this blog frustrates my need to put things side by side
I cannot really compose the way I want
I compose the way the interface allows
We have an agreement:
I will make do.
Not A Song, A Dispersion
This is a song (although it’s not)
For all the things we can’t see, hear, catch
of/from our students tucked behind screens.
The motivational battles that rage within
The confusion that crops up,
the relief when a hurdle is crossed,
the questions that never get asked.
The nail-biting parents aching for a moment’s peace.
The pace of the guide, the scope of the sequence
these become pearls that fall off their string.
Instead of a necklace
we have a dispersion
with no means
to recover the order
Can we be honest and not mistake the clean interface and charming video responses
for deep learning?*
Even if it’s the best we can do for now and doesn’t seem half bad, our kids are learning
all the time
and it may not be that carefully prepared content we’ve prepared after 4 or more video takes
that sticks and stays.
It will be other things: a postcard in the mail, a cat that came to zoom and wouldn’t leave, the way family felt different from before school closed, that time the teacher called on the phone.
The platform does not make memories. That’s something we do. We humans. We teachers, learners, adults, kids. The platform stores our artifacts. We humans, we users, we learners, we are art. We are fact.
Let’s use the apps we need. Rely on the platforms that serve us.
Let’s make our art. Let’s share our facts. Let’s weave our memories and make them count.
*(Understanding, too, that deep learning is not a given in classrooms either. It’s a long term gamble, the thing we hope against hope for but almost never get to witness when it surfaces 5, 10, 20 or 30 years later…)
images all CC0 via Pixabay.com