When we were designing trovvit we thought hard about the name of the thing we were asking people to create to help organize their learning. “Post” seemed impermanent - like a Facebook post - a missive that disappeared into one’s feed. History? Intimidating. Log Entry? A little Star Trek-y. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that). Card? Postcard? Too cute.
We liked “record.” As a noun, and as a verb. Noun: She set a personal record. He has a fine record. Verb: Record your memories.
Are we the sum of our records? So much of our life seems subject to records from institutions - which may or may not fairly reflect anything about us. I think that my public record - grades, addresses, tax record, voting record, job record - gives only a rough outline of who I am.
I would prefer to set my own record - choosing what is important to me to record, what makes a fine record. A grade from a school might reflect how hard I worked in a class - but it won’t reflect what I pursue with passion - a record of books read, mountains hiked, gardens planted. A record of failures and successes. I want to record what I have learned, why I learned it, how I changed in response to failure. My track record.
I am interested in mushrooms. I bought a book. Skye’s math teacher, Nick Fiori, and his wife Kristin, are amateur mycologists. They spent a day with us in the woods, collecting. We powered up the microscope, we poured over images in the books, we sorted, looked, talked. With a little wine and butter, Nick cooked the chanterelles and the boletes. In trovvit, I have a mushroom hunting record. Photos of the mushrooms we identified, a description of where we found them, how we identified them, what they tasted like. The next time we go, I'll create another trovvit record. And so on.
In this internet age it is common wisdom that, increasingly, people will learn outside traditional schools - in MOOCS, online language courses, certification courses in coding or designing. I think that is probably true.
But I think that another kind of “extra-curricular” learning - acquiring knowledge through experience and study -- on a hike, in church, at a public lecture, sailing across the bay, painting a picture -- is not revolutionary but actually pre-dates traditional schooling.
We designed trovvit to encourage people to recognize that these pursuits are a valuable form of learning. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “learning” as: Noun: The acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught (emphasis added). trovvit encourages you to record what you choose to experience and study - your track record - and fill in that rough outline . . .