Sunday, September 30, 2007

More Than Just Fireworks...

A few days ago, I attended a workshop on the basics of Fireworks. Whenever I learn something new, I walk away from the experience with not only new knowledge, but with a reminder of how my students might feel when they are about to learn something for the first time. It also reminds me of what it takes for students to retain what they've learned.

The first few minutes were filled with anticipation and a little anxiety. Am I going to be able to learn this? Will it be to confusing? Will I be lost?

Once I was able to see how similar Fireworks was to a program I already knew, I could feel my shoulders start to drop and my anxiety turned to excitement. This reminded me that prior knowledge is so important in new learning. Students need something to "attach" new information to. For me, it was my experiences with Photoshop, the tools, the layers... It was so similar. I could then apply my knowledge to this new program and the creativity started to take off. My fears were gone and it was uphill from there.

Usually after I learn something new, I need to play with it very soon afterwards. The reinforcement and repetition helps me to remember what I did. I wasn't able to do that with Fireworks. As time goes by, I will forget small things. I need to find the time to play, not just time to get the assignments done. Still trying to figure that one out. Students need the same repetition to hold onto skills. They need the information presented in ways that hit the different modalities. The idea of "spiraling" where topics are not just covered in one grade, but touched upon in the different grades helps with retention.

I am going to attempt to attach my "product" of the Fireworks workshop to this post. Though it may not appear to be much, it will act as a reminder of the experience I had that night. That is something I don't want to forget.

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