Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'll Take New Math Any Day

Do you have a child in school? Have you heard that the 'new' math will make your head hurt, that even if you have a university math degree you will be challenged with the equations and theories of the looming math curriculum? I read an article in MacLean's recently that talked about parents attending 'tutoring' sessions to learn, understand and have a hope in hullabaloo of helping their third graders with numbers.
None of this scares me. I have a box of cheerios in the cupboard, worst comes to worst I can dump them on the table and we will get the answer the old fashioned way. Run out of cheerios, I'm not beyond having the entire family remove their socks to get the job done. Math doesn't make me sweat.

Technology does. I'm not daft when it comes to clicking a mouse, downloading files and uploading data, videos and photos. I'm pretty comfortable with it actually and if I run into an issue beyond my scope I call my brother, he's a programmer. If we are still up against a wall we put the question out to social media circles, someone out there always knows what to do. Even armed, technological homework is migraine inducing.

This week E has been creating something called a 'glogster' (yes, we don't know what that is either) The best description I can give you is an electronic poster. A screen shot. The basic work was well completed but E wanted to use the 'add a video' feature. He clicked the button and after take 64, was happy with his performance. He clicked the button to add the video. The little scrolly 'transferring data bar' began scrolling. It was taking a really long time, more than 15 minutes so we clicked stop and started from scratch. This time I clicked the buttons. The scrolly bar began and we let it go, 20 minutes, 30 minutes 45 minutes, I sent E to bed. The video was 2 minutes long after 2 hours I cancelled the transfer. In the morning we tried again this time we recorded the video on my phone and tried to upload it to the site. Fail. E decided to skip the video and replace it with a photo and some separate audio. Picture success, audio fail. Once, twice, three, four, nine, twelve times. Eventually we saved what there was. I wrote a note of extreme frustration to the teacher and I think he might have gotten to school on time.

If this had been a one time event I could cruise through, chalk it up and move on but this is reoccurring techno-frustration. We do this every month. A wiki, a voki, a glogster, a bitstrip. I can't do it anymore. I get that technology is in the classroom, I get that it is pertinent. I don't get how a family that might not have some savvy, a programming brother or the social webisphere is suppose to support the initiative. There is no box of something in the cupboard you can poor on the table to do things the old fashioned way there is only failure to understand and succeed.

For the record E can manipulate the computer and Internet better than a great many adults I know and even he is getting frustrated with the untested - uni-tried sites and spaces that are suppose to be delivering his technological learning.

Needless to say Gratitude today for the personal knowledge that my son will grow up to be a fine technical savvy young man despite failing to impress his fourth grade techno-teacher. Oh, and for my own creative efforts to express frustration in words that don't begin with 'F'.