Friday, April 1, 2011

Always Blame the Equipment

That was a piece of advice my brother-in-law offered my daughter when she began playing hockey many years ago.  It popped into mind today as I realized that part of my difficulty in advancing in Minecraft was due to my equipment.  Instead of using a mouse for maneuvering, I've been using the keypad on my laptop which made the task unnecessarily difficult.  I discovered this by accident when sitting down to a PC to play - with the mouse I was able to be more accurate in my movements. Such a simple thing. With the right tool, learning can now proceed.

This also made me think of how having access to the right tools allows learning to proceed among a group of students that we've really not been able to serve well in the past:  the learning disabled.  What a phrase!  It implies that these students are unable to learn. A more accurate description would be that these students learn differently and that traditional educational tools do not meet their needs. This, however,  is no longer the case as assistive technologies become more common in classrooms. Speech to text word processing, digital readers, and a host of other tools are slowly becoming integrated into teaching practice. Students no longer need to sit helpless and frustrated while everyone else moves forward..  The right tools are allowing them to get on with their learning independently.  Always blame the equipment, indeed!

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