Little Prince, anyone? Le Petit Prince? I admit, I only read it because my 9th grade French teacher made me…but like a lot of folks, I learned to love that story with a sweet, painful nostalgia.
My favorite line: “Please, draw me a sheep.” (“S’il vous plait, dessine-moi un mouton.”)
The Little Prince wants the narrator’s help in doing something he cannot do himself. The narrator complies. The sheep is drawn and the story moves forward.
But the Little Prince has not learned how to draw his own sheep. Good thing he only needed the one.
Technology these days feels to me like a whole herd of sheep, each one of which needs to be drawn in some detail. And that, for me, is the problem. Here’s an example.
Me: I want to make my blog look cooler.
Friend: Oh, I just use ***app-of-the-month supplied by new company with a name that sounds like it was coined by four year-olds****. You should try it!
Me: Uh, sure, if it works for you…
Friend: Oh, it DOES. Get it.Try it. Use it. ***other assorted verbs that make technology seem as effortless and graceful as Fred Astaire tap-dancing***
Me [three hours later, after struggling to figure out how to download said app, walk my way through its steps, realize that the cool stuff isn’t free, give app-people my VISA number, then get welcomed to a home page telling me all the AMAZING stuff I can now do but not giving me the slightest bit of tutorial on HOW to do it so I have to figure it out for myself..].: Next time, can you just come over and do it for me?
Once more, technology has disempowered me, in the ironic guise of making it seem as though the world is at my fingertips.
Problem is, my fingertips don’t know what to DO with all that possibility. I want someone to TEACH me.
Teaching–THAT I know. After 20 years in the classroom, I understand about step-by-step, repetition, guided practice, the sequence of I do it/we do it/you do it/you teach someone else.
Here’s a radical idea: why can’t website tutorials be more like teachers?
Friends are busy; I understand they don’t have the time to walk someone like me through every step of every new “thing” you can do with your computer. But if tech websites offered a page or two of practice sessions, I could quit bugging my friends.
I wonder if anyone else out there shares this frustration when someone airily tells them, “Oh, just get this. Try this. Use this.” I wonder if anyone else wants to LEARN to draw the damn sheep, rather than needing to ask each time for someone to draw it for us.