The 21st century can be an exciting and intimidating time for learning. One only has to blink and see that technology quickly changes and that we need to keep up with it.
I can’t help but admire my wife’s grandmother who, at 92 years old, decided she wanted a smartphone and went out and bought one! She’d decided she wasn’t going to be intimidated by unfamiliar technology, and she was willing to take the challenge of figuring the phone out. I want to be like her when I’ve reached that age.
3 Characteristics of a Lifelong Learner
Often, learning has to start with curiosity. Curiosity is something my 19-month-old has in abundance. All the time poking into cupboards, opening up books, pointing at things, or walking over to touch whatever it is that’s caught her attention. At times, I wish she’d be a little less curious, but then I’m reminded that her curiosity is essential to learning; it’s essential for my learning as well. I’m privileged with the responsibility of encouraging and channeling a healthy curiosity and interest in learning, not only for others, but also for myself. This realization gives me food for thought. How am I encouraging healthy curiosity in others or in myself? Are there areas where I’m intentionally squelching curiosity and I don’t need to? What changes can I make to rekindle curiosity?
Mistakes are an important learning tool in life. Perhaps that’s an obvious statement, but the theory doesn’t always translate into practice, at least in my own life. I don’t enjoy making mistakes, and I certainly don’t like seeing others make mistakes, either. If we’re honest, not many parents enjoy seeing their children make mistakes that could have been avoided. The reality is that if we want to be lifelong learners and encourage a love of learning, then we each need to remember that mistakes serve a purpose, rather than seeing them as miserable failures. Thomas Edison, when faced with failure, is reported to have said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I believe Edison aptly embodied this philosophy in his quest to invent the electric light bulb. I believe Edison struck upon the greatest “light bulb” moment when he gave this view of mistakes. Ultimately, if we let them, failures define us, whereas mistakes help us grow. Yet how often do we view mistakes as the learning tools we say we believe they are?
I get it; mistakes are cool when someone else’s child is making them. When it comes to my children, however, I want to shield them at all costs from making the same mistake. Actually, permitting children to make mistakes while still in an environment where you can nurture and guide them through the effects of the mistake can be one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children. I write this as a parent who is still in process along this journey, because I’m the parent who tends to overprotect my daughter. At the end of the day, through, I want to encourage my daughter to love learning, which inevitably will involve making mistakes. I want her to define them as stepping-stones, not as failures.
Demme Learning is passionate about “building lifelong learners.” We’re committed to encouraging a love of learning through our products, blog posts, and resources for all ages. Curiosity, a willingness to ask questions, and a healthy view of mistakes are some of the qualities of a lifelong learner that have brought the company to where it is today. We couldn’t have done it without you and we appreciate your consistent loyalty and support for us on this journey.
Take your math lessons on the road with the new Math-U-See app.
If you’re a Math-U-See user, you know how important our manipulatives are for instruction – building concepts and allowing students to “see” and master them is an essential part of our instructional method, after all. But have you ever tried to take your math lessons in the car – on a trip or even simply during a typical busy day in the life of a homeschooler? We admit, it can get a little messy with unit blocks bouncing underfoot, fraction overlays sliding between seats, and frustrated groans from the kids as you turn a corner and their carefully-constructed math problem goes tumbling into the baby’s car seat. But math skills must be constantly practiced and built upon or mastery can be lost, so you don’t like to take a break from math. Besides, if you waited until you had a peaceful morning at home, you might never get through the lessons! If only there were an easier way to take Math-U-See on the road…
That day arrived in June of 2014 when Demme Learning launched the Math-U-See Manipulative app, delighting many customers who have been quite vocal in asking us for such a tool. We are happy to respond, and we think this supplement to the physical manipulatives is a great tool for your mathematical journeys of both the literal and figurative kind.
The Digital Manipulatives app offers all of the manipulatives that are used with our math curriculum, including the base-ten set of manipulative blocks, the fraction overlays, the algebra/decimal inserts, and even Decimal Street – plus a few other features as well. This all-inclusive manipulative supplement will help keep math fresh for you and your students and is a great tool which can be used alongside the physical blocks once you return from your travels.
One of the useful benefits of working with the app is the ability to use an infinite number of blocks. This can be especially helpful when working through our Gamma and Delta levels, as students are building larger problems. This should help save on your gas mileage because you won’t need to lug around the blocks while visiting family, and there’s no risk of forgetting them at Grandma’s, either!
With the holidays fast approaching, no doubt there will be some travel on the horizon for many of us. We all realize the importance of keeping what we have learned in math fresh in our minds. Now we can because of the unique portability the manipulative app provides for us and our families while traveling this coming holiday season. We hope you enjoy this educational tool and your time with loved ones during this holiday season.
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