My husband is a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, and even though we’re a few years out from living that wild, wonderful, crazy existence of being in the military, we have children in the military now and still try to follow what is going on in that world.
One thing that never changes is the use of Jargon. No one does it better than the United States Military. A recent quote in the newspaper, from a Major (whom we know personally) talking about a bombing error by a pilot that resulted in a B-52 dropping a payload of 500-pound (non-explosive) test bombs on a local reservoir, points this out vividly.
Instead of saying the pilot and crew of this mission made a huge mistake, the Major said the crew, “lost situational awareness.” He didn’t say SNAFUED this one – but that’s another jargon story…..
At any rate, this terminology, “lost situational awareness” struck me. Happens to me all the time! I get to reading something on the web, it leads me to something else, which gives me another idea, and I try something else, which takes me on to several other links and videos, and podcasts, and illustrations, and I get another brainstorm about what to do with another set of students, and on and on and on and time goes away before I know what happened! I think that, for better or worse, my brain likes hypertext mode.
I see this happening with our students all the time, and I see how their teachers struggle with it. We want students to pay attention to the subject, topic, question at hand, and they get off on a tangent, following one link, one topic, to another – flying around and making whatever sense they can out of the bits and pieces they find. It’s like one huge smorgasbord of information, pictures, video, sound, and you can just get so much and get off on a tangent so easily!
So tell me, when I lose ‘situational awareness’ and get off on one of those hypertext brain trips, am I not still learning?