I don’t have time for anything substantial today, but two things happened that brought a smile to my face about some of the work I’ve been doing, both of them helped reinforce things that, in my mind are very important.
The first was a conversation I had with a colleague this morning. She came into my office just beaming and really excited to invite me over to have a look at her Animoto video on which she had spent the weekend working. She had created a video for her mom’s party that she was having this week. The video was very good, and I’m sure it will truly touch her mother and the family when they see it. What really impressed me however, was when she started recounting the process that she went through to build this. She spent hours working on it, tackling issues, and problems and by the looks of it overcoming them. She also told me a couple of things that I didn’t know about Animoto (did you know that it does allow for more than one song, so choose your song length carefully). What this reinforced was exactly what I think needs to be done in education. She had played with the application, found it met her needs, and then dove in head first. She had already started working tentatively with Animoto in her class, but now she can’t wait to have the students expand what they are doing. The one thing that she mentioned was that the students really appreciate producing work that looks so ‘professional.’ The other neat thing is her enthusiasm for the program is rubbing off on her students, I am looking forward to the opportunity of going into her class to see what her students are working on. I have long believed that ‘playing’ has to be a major plank in our approach to introducing technology into the classroom. If the teacher uses it at home, they become confident in it, they learn to troubleshoot (because it’s their project), and when they introduce it to class they come in with enthusiasm. Should this be the only method, absolutely not, but it is a vital method, and based on my colleagues reaction today it contains the ability to provide a level of fun and satisfaction for the teacher. Something which I think we often overlook all too easily, after all education is serious business.
My second a-ha moment occurred this afternoon when I was talking to a pair of students. One of them had missed my ‘introduction’ to web research a week ago and I just wanted to be sure that she knew where she could get the information. What thrilled me was the reaction of her friend, who simply raved about what I’d shown them. Now I have no illusions and don’t think it was that good, but I was particularly happy to hear that she had taken some of the things that I had told her about home and showed them to her dad. Apparently her dad found some of the tools (especially Diigo) to be just the thing he’s looking for as he surfs the web. This highlighted another thing that I need to make sure that I do better, I need to include parents more in this technological revolution. I need to look at setting up some time for parents to come in and work with some of the tools that their children are going to be playing with. I’m not sure if it’s time just yet, but I somehow think that it will arrive soon, and that one way to lessen resistance among students is to get fathers like this one supporting our transition by spreading the word to other parents. There is so much potential for this and it is something that I need to continue to explore.