I’m not a real fan of math. I blame a grade five teacher that used competitive multiplication games that humiliated me. Before that, I liked math. Ever since I’ve felt that I have some sort of a math disease. I was so happy when I discovered the word “dyscalculia” in teacher’s college. That’s what I have! My brain is just not able to process math…
Bollocks! I’m bad at math because I fear it. It has nothing to do with the cells in my brain. If I train my brain with more mathematical thinking, I’ll get better at it, just as it is with most things. Half the population wasn’t just born with the inability to do math. “Oh, I’m not a math person.” What you mean is, you don’t enjoy math, you’re scared of it, and you haven’t worked at it enough.
I see strong parallels to using technology. I hear the same,“Oh, I’m not a computer person.” As an eLearning Contact in a small school board, it’s part of my job to try to convince teachers to use more technology in their classrooms, so I encounter this a fair amount.
It seems to be that some people believe that their body emanates some kind of negative electrical impulse that causes computer technology to go wrong. “That stuff never works for me.” “I don’t want the hassle.” “I can’t be bothered.” Well of course you’re not going to be a pro if you continually avoid using it because you feel you’re not good at it.
The truth is, just like math, if they work on it, they can master it. And they’ll probably discover that it’s not all that hard. People aren’t born being bad at computers; it’s just a learned skill. We just need to not fear it. Fortunately, the computer user-experience has come a long way (lead mostly by web-applications, in my opinion). It’s much less likely that people will ‘break’ something in the computer by exploring. What one needs, however, is merely the courage to explore. There is so much that technology can do to make your life easier, more efficient and, in the case of teaching, can help increase student learning. It’s worth it; it’s necessary.
Take heart, computer fearers; it won’t hurt you. Muster up the courage to explore and learn; it’ll get better.
(Fortunately for me, my courage in embracing technology has mitigated the damage caused by my fear of math!)
(Photo Credit: Computer History Museum)