Time flows differently when children work together, the older becoming aspirational peers for younger children, no bells demanding that they stop what they are doing to move in short blocks of time from math to reading to science to history in a repetitive daily cycle. Instead, they work on projects that engage them in experiences across content areas and extend time as they see the need.
We lose so much when we divide students by age… We lose peer mentoring, we lose the aspirations to be “like the big kids,” we lose the ability of younger kids to become leaders, and we lose the ability to let kids grow at their own rate. We also lose the shared public space which lies at the heart of community, culture, and democracy.
“When I talk about multiage learning, I don’t mean streaming. I imagine joyful, collaborative, hands-on, individualised learning that students personalise based on their interests, strengths, and needs. They create the context, we then add the content.” https://t.co/XDzami4aaj
We’ve noticed this with homeschooling/unschooling networks using programs like Science Olympiad. Students with Olympiad experience loop through helping newcomers and younger kids. They get to demonstrate their expertise and teach.
In the screenshot below, three freshly uploaded images are shown in the editor. When I tap an image, I see Edit in the resulting menu. I’m on the right track, yet already confused. I’m not sure which image I’m operating on. The selection indicator is too subtle, requiring me to get closer to the screen.
If the cursor is located after the selected image, the editor scrolls down to center the cursor upon exiting the Media Options flow. The image I was editing is now partially offscreen, increasing ambiguity.
This ambiguity creates anxiety. Which image am I editing? The “Media Settings” page offers no context.
My go-to anxiety flow in the face of such ambiguity is to go back and reorient. If I “Cancel” to return to the editor in order to establish context, the editor offers more ambiguity instead of reassurance by scrolling down as mentioned above. Even without the scrolling, the blue selection indicator requires me to squint. Selection visually collides with the cursor (which is image height when on the same line as an image), increasing ambiguity further.
I write descriptive captions in the interest of accessibility. I need to see the image as I do this. Here’s what image captioning looks like in Ulysses on macOS.
And here’s what it looks like in Ulysses on iOS. A little scrolling back and forth between the image and description field is needed, but at least they’re on the same page. I’ll gladly scroll if it means getting images large enough for my eyes.
In both of those interfaces, the image is available for reference while captioning. Contrast them with the WP iOS app. The “Caption” screen consists of a single text input field. The image is not displayed. No information about the image is displayed. This means I’ll have to flip back and forth between the WP app and my camera roll app to write a caption.
If I want to consult the image from within the WP app instead of flipping to a different app, the journey is: two taps back to the editor, a bad scroll interaction depending on cursor location, peer over my bifocals at images and selection indicators, and then another three taps back to the Caption field. I’d have to do this over and over to transcribe the screenshots in this post. I started this post in the iOS app and quickly tired.
Calypso on iOS Safari
The iOS app’s caption flow does not work for me. So how about captioning flow on the mobile web? Alas, Calypso on iOS Safari is buggy, erratic, and frustrating to the point that I usually give up on it and go get the laptop. Sometimes, though, I can complete an editing session. In this shot, I’m adding a caption as part of image insertion flow. The image thumbnail is on the small side for me. I need big images when writing captions, especially for screenshots. Otherwise, I have to find the image in an interface that gives me a better view and then correlate back and forth.
In the following screenshots, I’m adding a caption to an image after it has been inserted. First, delicately dismiss the Cut Copy bar without dismissing the inline image toolbar hiding behind it. This is fussy and awkward.
And, then, tap the caption button, wonder why it didn’t do anything, scroll down, realize a caption input unfurled below the fold, and start adding a caption.
There’s the possibility of good flow friendly to presbyopia beneath the unfortunately numerous interaction bugs. Though, even with the interaction bugs, at least I don’t have to caption an image I can’t see. There are many times I wish I could use the mobile web interface, but the scroll bleed, vscroll loss, keyboard flyup, lock ups, crashes, requests for more memory, and general unpredictability exclude it from consideration.
Neither interface meets my needs for captioning flow. I need images to be present on the same screen as the fields that describe them. I need access to image views large enough for my presbyopic eyes to transcribe text from screenshots. I need caption fields with enough room to comfortably compose detailed image descriptions.
I experience the disorienting loss of vertical scroll position in many of the apps and websites I use. Twitter and other stream interfaces update the feed while you’re scrolling, losing your place. Page and card interactions often plop you back at the top of a list when you hit the back button, especially if there are filters active.
I’ll illustrate with wordpress.com since I use it a lot and helped make it.
In the screenshot below, I scrolled the theme browser down a bit.
And then clicked the “Shoreditch” theme.
And then clicked “<- All Themes” to go back.
And lost my scroll position.
A gallery style browser that loses vertical scroll position is very frustrating. Repeated grid and list scanning is headache inducing and exhausting.
I spend too much time getting back to where I was, trying not to fall out of high memory state, trying not to crash my stack. Vertical scroll position is sacred. The back button should take me back to where I was, not respawn me at the checkpoint at the beginning of the dungeon. It should not be a quest restart button.
Here’s another example on wordpress.com. In the following shot, I scrolled some search results down a bit.
And then clicked on a post in the list to open the editor and peek at the contents.
And clicked “Close” to go back to the blog posts list.
And lost my vertical scroll position. During searches, I often dip in and out of the editor looking for what I want. Repeatedly losing scroll position makes this so frustrating and slow.
One more example, this time with Netflix.
Click a show to start playing.
Click the back button to go back to the video grid.
Lose your place.
I felt frissons of frustration and loss back in the 1980s when my fingers —my little stack pointers and quest markers—slipped from the leaves of my choose your own adventure books. Now, I experience those feelings with regularity in my relationships with software. I regret associating those physical memories with a common software interaction bug: one that, seemingly, many of us can’t reliably fix.
The occasional slipped finger added to the sense of journey and questing. Repeated, daily loss of scroll position merits no associations with nostalgic sepia. The complex software interfaces I use today fail as custodians of context more reliably than did my 10 year old fingers.