March 27, 2008

Unlearning

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:04 am

One of my favorite posts of all time is Will’s Unlearning Curve. In fact, I included it in our school division’s digital learning vision page.

The past 2 weeks has been filled with unlearning as I move to the Macintosh platform. The unlearning will get even steeper since today my father-in-law’s iMac arrived (not sure why he bought Apple Care since who know who will be doing most of the troubleshooting) and on Monday I ordered my son his graduation present, another Macbook Pro. In addition to these personal purchases, our school division is introducing this platform into our Windows based network.

So over the past 2 weeks here are a few things, minor and major, I’m trying to unlearn:

  1. The X in the corner doesn’t quit the application.
  2. Beach balls don’t always mean fun.
  3. You don’t have to name every photo religiously. Renaming photos isn’t easy but it may not be that necessary.
  4. You don’t need a task bar. That’s what Expose is for.
  5. Maximize doesn’t mean full screen.
  6. The Alt key isn’t the same.
  7. You don’t have to run defrag or anti-virus.
  8. Drag and drop and shortcut keys for some reason seem more intuitive.
  9. I can easily put my computer to sleep and wake it up….every time.
  10. Macs aren’t perfect and don’t lead to happiness.

While these unlearnings will continue to grow, Clarence’s post about boxes continues to guide my thinking. While there is certainly some elegance to the Mac, the function and creative possibilities happen in both worlds and in other environments as well. Clarence’s post on OS and education also has me thinking about unlearning. While his premise is interesting and valid, I’m more inclined to believe that users and manufacturers are doing more to make learning and creativity happen in any environment. Users expect to be able to be productive and creative in any environment. There still needs to be understandings around the purpose of certain devices but when it come to creativity in particular, Windows or Mac shouldn’t matter. I recall my early days of video editing on a windows machine. Since firewire was an add-on, hardware and software compatibility was a nightmare. I was one of those odd souls who persisted and had some success. Today, these issues are largely solved. I certainly have very high expectations that the Mac will prove to be the superior machine. As a power user, I’ll be looking for certain functionality, but I also continually compare my Windows experience. During this transition I keep thinking, “how can I do this on my Dell?” I know the purists will point out differences and many of my hardcore Mac friends can officially whip the smirk off their faces as they’ve welcomed another into their fold. The issue for me continues to be finding machines that do the job. It shouldn’t be about one over the other. I’m glad to see our school division offer this option as well.

Learning, unlearning, relearning….it’s all good.

Footnote:
One of our high schools sent 2 students to a provincial skills competition in video editing. They realized a week before the event that the competition would be using Macs, iMovie and Final Cut Pro. These students had never used a Mac. Their teacher wanted to pull them out of the event but the organizers encouraged them to compete. They received a 20 minute tutorial immediately prior to the full day competition. They gained a silver medal out of 15 competitors.

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