Sunday, June 21, 2020

Watching the oven door.

We had my daughter, her new husband, his brother, the brother's cat and the daughter and son-in-law's dog with us for 2 months and now they're safely back in New York. The coronavirus seems to be in better management status there, while heating up here due to people's itchiness to get back to more regular life and a refusal to understand the importance of wearing masks.

After our family had been with us for a couple weeks, our golden doodle, Rosie discovered there was a cat in the house. She would stand outside the bedroom trying to get a peek at our mysterious and reclusive houseguest. She decided that the front glass on the oven door was a window through which she might catch a glimpse of the mysterious cat.

Yesterday afternoon Rosie heard my daughter's voice on the phone and immediately went to the oven door, attempting to peak into the black glass. How can I explain to my wonderful pooch that the oven door is not a TV and that there's no Lucy there, no cat, no dog, and neither of the two bros?

It appears that we've given up on our own curiosity. We accept digital technology without questioning it. It might inspire more wonder than it does. For instance, "how does this stuff work?" Without asking that question and understanding at least a small part of it, we are somewhat in the dark no matter how much we feel ourselves to be on top of things.

In the early days of Educational Sloyd, students were to start with the very basics of their own lives, understanding the simple, easy, knowable, concrete phenomena and build in increments from there, so as to merge with greater understanding of place and purpose within the vast scheme of things. We've chosen instead to launch student learning with devices that are inexplicable. Even toddlers are given their parent's iPhones for amusement and distraction, with very little real learning taking place.

Perhaps I'm being overly harsh. Online instruction can lead to good things. But only if you break from it and test what you've learned in the real world, generating your own discoveries and turning your efforts toward service.

Let's put real tools in the hands of kids and allow them to journey forth.

A friend of mine, Jason Proulx, has an article and plan in the latest issue of the Lee Valley Newsletter.

Jason, a long time reader of this blog named his educational blog after the three words featured at the end of each of my blog posts, 

Make, fix and create.

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