Learning something new/Not learning something


Do you remember when you were in elementary, middle, or high school and the teacher or a book said something that made you think differently? The power of your brain working to make connections was an awesome feeling. Unfortunately, those days are much fewer and far between now that I am out of school. But, I do love those days when I sit down at my computer to do some data techie stuff (technical word) for my school and I learn something new on a piece of software I’ve been using for a while. It’s nice to feel like an expert in something, but it’s even nicer to add to your knowledge base when you thought there wasn’t much to add.

Case in point, just a few weeks ago, I was doing something on Excel and had to copy the first line of data to cells 1000+ further down.  I’ve done this a billion times before, but for some reason on this day, I decided to Google if there were a faster way. Of course there was (Edit, Fill Down), and I was somewhat aware of its presence, but could not figure out how to do it before. The solution was to copy the cell and then hover over it until I found a + sign. Double clicking the + sign copies the cell down to the last row. Brilliant! I think the reason I excel at Excel is because I am so lazy; I want to find the shortcuts for every functionality, which forces me to learn all the functionalities.

It happened again today, which made me want to write about learning new things. I was using Powerschool, which is something I feel extremely comfortable using. However, today, I wanted to select about 35 students from one grade who were not otherwise able to be grouped (i.e. not of same gender, ethnicity, nor all in the same class necessarily.) I decided to look up if there was a shortcut to selecting these students. There was, of course. Just in case you use Powerschool, I selected the grade level, then in Functions, I chose Select Students By Hand. I can’t believe that function was there all along and I never noticed it. It worked like a charm. I felt both stupid and genius at the same time!

Now of course, the opposite is true as well. I am trying to learn a new-to-me software called Pearson Inform. It is a data warehouse that works seamlessly with our SIS, Powerschool. Since I am the data person at our school, I am responsible for adding new assessments into the interface. And gosh darn it, I cannot for the life of me troubleshoot when I do something wrong in this interface. It is not intuitive. I HATE not knowing how to do something that I should be able to learn. All that being said, I did have two successful uploads today, which tells me I am beginning to get it. In the meantime, I need to go do something I am good at to get my confidence back. Reality TV, here I come!