I spent most of the afternoon trying to get the videos I'd taken on my iphone last night onto DVDs we could watch on our TV. My daughters had an audition preparation session last night for their upcoming play, "Annie." They have songs and dance routines to learn this week and I really didn't want them trying to watch them on my iphone or computer all week. I figured it would be far simpler for all of us if they had a DVD instead.
Turns out that transfer isn't exactly easy. There's no nifty feature in iTunes (that I know of) that allows your to just burn a dvd from a downloaded video. I had to search the internet for software, download it, and learn to use it through much trial and error. Personally, I think I overdid the "error" part. When I finally figured it out, I realized that the picture on all the videos was sideways (some odd quirk of iphones). After screaming a string of profanities, silently.... my daughters were home after all, I found a video editing program that allowed me to fix that.
It was a horrendous struggle and I don't look forward to repeating the experience anytime soon. Still... I learned a tremendous amount. Would it have been easier if I'd had someone to take me step by step through the process? Absolutely!!!! But, I wouldn't have learned nearly as much. Making the gazillion mistakes I made today taught me a great deal about video editing. I was frustrated, but I did ultimately figure it out and am proud that was able to do it.
That kind of ownership only comes from figuring things out yourself. I think we need to find more room in our educational system for this kind of learning. It's far more lasting and ultimately builds student confidence like nothing else can. Most people have learned to use computers this way through necessity. Computer software and technology changes so rapidly, that we simply have to figure it out as we need it. There are no classroom teachers to explain things for us.
So, instead of always thinking of things I can teach my kids, I'm going to work on devising a curriculum that includes this kind of autodidacticism. I'll set them various tasks to complete. Something like... here's $30 bucks --> go plant us a vegetable garden. I could take them to the nursery to get seedlings, etc. and the library to find how-to books, but other than that, I'd stay hands off and let them make all the mistakes they need to in order to really learn. It would make our "homeschooling" a lot harder to document for the charter school, but I think they'd learn a heck of a lot more!