I was excited preparing for the “dress rehearsal,” so I decided to focus on completing the most important tasks on my list, saving my blog post for after class. Then, I fell off the planet into a project-free abyss. It’s not that I wasn’t doing anything for my project. In fact, I was following Dr. Rieber’s recommendation of seeking out feedback from within my family. This involved a lot of phone use and very little Captivate.
First, I want to discuss the items that were at the top of my list for the days leading up to the dress rehearsal. As discussed in a couple of desk crits, I wanted to incorporate a balance of some light instructions without eliminating the feel of exploration of the tapestry. This led to the world’s cheesiest help mouse over and button ever designed. Fortunately I have since adjusted it to fit better with the rest of the rest of the content. I also wanted to practice some timing which has been absent from my project due to its deviation from a classic linear form. I also wanted to have a means of wrapping up the experience. So I added some depth to my last “Love” slide. You can get to it from any other slide; once you are finished exploring, you have a place to go for closure. I started with a black and white gardenia, my mother’s favorite flower. I added some family pictures on top, faded in the unique pairs of characteristics, faded the gardenia to color, faced in “Love” in my handwriting, and then faded everything out leaving just the gardenia and “Love.”
It took some time to get the timing situated to create the feeling of closure that I was seeking so I left the help floating at the top right with no symmetry or balance. I later adjusted the button and added what I felt would also be welcome – an introduction to the project for those who might be interested. I wasn’t sure what would go there, but I was confident the content would me to me shortly. Boy, was I right! At church the following Sunday, the priest shook me out of a daze with the mention of a tapestry. I had heard the metaphor before, but this time I wondered if this was why tapestry fits so well with my family experiences. He said life can be confusing sometimes because we are busy weaving from the back of the tapestry. We see the beautiful colors and do our best, but it is not until we have the opportunity to see the front as God sees it that we can fully appreciate the meaning of the events in our lives. Why did Eleanor outlive three girls and why did my sister have to grow up without her mother? It almost seemed there was a tear in the tapestry at my mother’s death, but now that the next generation joins us I can see and appreciate the unbroken thread. Gifts and talents, treasures and character have been passed along the entire way. Each when viewed in her own generation inspires. Each encourages her loved ones around her. Each brings laughter to her friends and family. It is often difficult to see the entire beauty of family until time passes and generations move forward into the future.
The reading I chose for this journal entry connects both to my family within my project and to the ideas I’m pondering for my project next semester. It also nips at the heels of my frustration and decision to leave K-12 education. In life we are always learning, whether it’s math, personal relationships, paths toward success. No matter where one is learning, frustration is an inherent part of the process. Aldrich points out that, “most people do not appreciate the role of frustration in learning” (2004). Inexperienced learners misunderstand frustration; if they don’t know what to do, they think something is wrong with the course or the instructor. Good learners embrace frustration, understanding that its resolution occurs at the point where the learner rewires the mind, an exciting process. Aldrich included an analogy that I saw in my own teaching career: exercising our minds should lead us to breaking a sweat. Otherwise, the time spent is wasted. Most people understand this about physical exercise, but struggle with the same type of experience when exercising the mind (2004).
After listening to Aldrich’s podcast I reflected quite a bit on the value of pedagogy and the value of simulation, connecting them to math and religion, the main subjects I’ve taught. Pedagogy has a place in the effective instruction of linear content which can be found in both areas. If students are learning how to factor polynomials, for example, there is a linear process that can lead them through distributing and back with factoring. On the other hand, the application of quadratics to projectile problems, for example, would more effectively enrich understanding through simulation and practical application. Similarly, in religion, pedagogy can guide students through the process of learning the Ten Commandments along with the background story of Moses. However, to develop systems for students to live out these guidelines, simulation and practical application again become a more appropriate mean of enrichment.
How does this come back to my project? As I consider all four people along the thread of the tapestry, each experienced their own frustrations along their life journeys. Laura, Addie, and others in my audience will continue to face challenges. I hope I can help them to see that they can find their own wisdom by moving beyond their frustrations into lifelong learning.
Aldrich, C. (2004, November 6). Simulations and the future of learning. Presentation made at the 2004 Accelerating Change Conference. Podcast retrieved from http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail372.html