Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Do You Have Any Questions?

I get so frustrated when I get a new piece of technology and someone smugly asks, "Do you have any questions?"  No - is my basic response.  No because I don't know enough yet to know what questions I have.  I look at my tormentor and think, "Of course I have questions!"  "Like where do you turn it on?"

I went from a vintage 2007 (one of the sales clerks said "oldddd and wrinkled her nose" - Motorola flip phone to a Droid Charge.  Talk about a learning curve.  The sales lady turned me over to a couple of her younger colleagues when I had questions.

The girl was fairly patient and then I left with my new gizmo.  Only to walk a couple of feet and realize I hadn't asked, how to get to the contact section.  I walked back to the kiosk at Sam's Club and the young man happily said I will show you.  Which he did, (fast).  I am now old enough and self confident enough now to tell sales clerks - "Stop I need to do that again but slower, and I need to be the one doing it."

The young man looked at me and reluctantly said, "ok here" when I told him I wanted to do it, while he told me what to do.  He became very anxious - he wanted to do it for me.  I knew he was frustrated that I didn't get it.  I could see from his expression it was painful for him to watch me struggle with such a basic step.  I thought of my students and how often I have asked, "Do you have any questions?"

This new phone is a marvel.  I figured out how to answer it.  I accidentally discovered you can put facebook information into your phone contacts.   Did you know that if you hit the right button and sync it to your phone, facebook information it will download all your friends information onto your phone?  I didn't even know facebook knew their phone numbers.

I intensely dislike being intimidated by a machine.  I downloaded the manual to my husband's new laptop.  I bought it for him for Christmas.  His technological comfort zone is running the computer remotely.  "Honey, would you look up ______?"

When he opened the package he was both pleased and frustrated.  He wanted one, but would probably have been happier with a new rifle.  I wanted him to learn how to operate a computer and figured if he had one of his own he might try to figure it out.  I also high-handedly told him I would find out when classes started at the Community Center.

His measured response, "I don't know why I have to take a class, you could teach me."

"Honey, I tried that.  You tune me out.  I think if someone else showed you, you might pay attention."

I really want him to have the skills to enjoy using a computer.  He's not so excited.  Kinda like my students when I tell them we are going to work on _______________.   As an educator I realize my students need scaffolding.  Sometimes I don't always get how much.  

My helpful teaching style is kind of like my phone - I start to type and it tries to anticipate what I want to say. Only to make me frustrated because it adds letters I'm not interested in.  I asked those young sales people how to turn off that function.  They looked at me and said, "Just type.  It will figure it out."

Hmm - I'm not so convinced.

I discovered that Verizon is offering a class on how to operate Droids during my winter break.  I signed up.  When they ask, "Are there any questions?"  I'm going to say yes - "How do you shut off that function where it tries to type words for you?  It really is annoying.  I would rather do it myself."


  1. I could really feel your frustration in this slice.
    We had an interesting conversation on Christmas about how educational instruction is going to change as more and more digital natives become teachers. It is an interesting time we are living in.

  2. Teaching is already changing. Digital natives speak a different language. They see things differently, they see learning with new eyes.

    I think when we started teaching we did to. The technological layer that "we pioneered" has taken on a life of its own. Learning is taking place expotentially, that makes me feel out of the loop and kinda left behind. Yet I remember data cards and when microfiche was advanced. I even remember taking a class and my instructor encouraged us to invest in this new company. He was teaching a basic "word processing". He said he thought this company had potential even though they were currently working out of a garage. My life would have been different if I had followed his advice.

  3. There is nothing like learning something new to inspire new insights in teaching!

  4. Remote computer was too funny! There's always a learning curve in tacking anything new. Good luck with yours

  5. I always love thinking about connections between our everyday lives and implications for teaching. Thanks for sharing this slice. I especially loved the dialogue between you and your husband about the computer, as well as the way you described the people who were helping you with your new phone.

  6. I love the connections you made to learning new technology to teaching. It reminds me that we need to scaffold our lessons for our students in the same way.

  7. I can totally relate to what you're going through. I just got rid of my phone that didn't even have a qwerty keyboard and upgraded to an iPhone. (Luckily I had an iTouch before so that helped a bit.)

    Good luck!

  8. Oh my, you just told the story of many lives, I fear. I bought the IPad thinking it might interest my husband more than the computer, but he doesn't do much with it. I think I'm not scaffolding very well with him! I admire you for jumping right in. I do well with the laptop, & now the IPad, but still have an ancient flip phone. Maybe someday... I understand about the questions & wonder if we shouldn't ask that at all of our students. We teach them something, & then say 'any ?'s" & of course they have few, or none, just as you explained. Yikes! The tech stuff is growing very fast. I just hope the budgets will keep up too! Great & fun-to-read post!

  9. Technology...I love all the stuff we can do these days, but definitely NOT the learning curve!

  10. OMG, I giggled through out your post. I know exactly what you mean when you state that you need to do the work in order to understand it. Good luck with your new technology...you'll love it once you get comfortable.

  11. I'm excited to see what new "digital native" teachers bring to the table but my fear is that students will think there is a google for everything and not poke and prod and experiment their way through life the way we have had to.

  12. I was tickled with your post. I'm a witness to what you've been through because of the high end technology we have these days. Mom especially would prefer using her ancient phone for calling and sending messages than using an alien phone that she's not familiar with. But in time, just explore using the technology then you'll appreciate its features soon after you are used to it.


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