Sunday, May 24, 2015

Because I Want To

Last week I asked +John Calvert if he could share how he created his advanced book review site. I wanted to get an idea of how to tackle putting together a summer reading list web page for the #CdnEdChat website, and his Education on Air session was an amazing start.

We had the hangout on air, and I learned some great features and one very simple solution to a problem I'd been solving the hard way. I was able to quickly get the basics sorted, using John's model to put together my own version, but I decided on a few features I wanted to incorporate.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Why?

I showed my brother, who asked me a poignant question: "Why? Aren't there a bunch of sites out there that do this better?" It's true, there are, but that's not why I did it. I'm not interested in reinventing the wheel because I think I can do it better. I'm confident I can't. I did it for a simple reason.

Because I'm Curious.

I wanted to find out if I could. I wanted to solve all those little problems. I wanted to play with it, and see if I could make these tools, which are certainly not designed for this purpose, and aren't as powerful as a dedicated database platform, do what I want. It's the same reason I like to undo the screws and break the warranty sticker on things. I want to know how it works.

Do we ask our kids to be curious?

How much of an opportunity is there for our students to be encouraged, supported, and empowered to follow their own curiosity? Do we offer them the time and tools to really dive deep into a problem, explore possible solutions, and persist until they understand? Are we teaching our kids to follow their passion and learn, or are we teaching them that learning has nothing to do with passion or interest? I do this kind of work because I find it interesting. It's a challenge for me, and I enjoy it. I don't get things working exactly right, and it takes me a lot of time to solve those small problems, but I like solving them.

Are we showing our own children that life can be enjoyable when you build curiosity and persistence? Or are we building a culture where we expect others to take care of things for us, and where we're satisfied with things that are "good enough?" I hope not. 

Because "Good Enough" isn't good enough.