This October, I will be 45 years old. I have just completed my 16th year of teaching elementary school. When I graduated, cell phones were built into the car and computers came with huge towers and very large screens. They were used for word processing only. Today, my house is filled with computers and smart phones. When I was in middle school, having a T.V in your room was “the bomb.” My kids do not want or need a T.V. They watch everything online. They can hook into our Apple T.V., use Hulu or Amazon Prime. It’s crazy.
Eighth graders at The Davis Academy must do a year long culminating project. He has always been a tech kid. Before the age of two, he could turn on the T.V. and work the VCR. I was no surprise that Benjamin did his project on how YouTube has changed the world. He wrote a paper and then created a fifteen minute movie using Final Cut Pro. Assisting Ben with this project,I learned so much about today’s learners. First, YouTube is amazing. It has completely changed the world of education. TED talks and Kahn academy provide endless resources to all students. If Benjamin needs help with math, he can simply search online and voila, tutorials! It is amazing. Additionally, watching him create a video in only a few short hours using a highly technical program was a learning experience for me, too. I am always afraid with the computer, afraid it will not work, afraid I will lose it all, afraid of a virus… the list goes on and on. He is not afraid at all. In fact, he has a growth mindset where technology is concerned. Failures are times of learning and growth.
This made me think about the second and third graders who come to my class for language arts remediation. My students have diagnosed learning disabilities. How can I use technology to make their learning easier? I already know that grammar is dry. They do not enjoy doing what one of my colleagues calls, grunt work. This is the memorizing of rules and regulations that go with grammar. However, when I bring out the Ipads to play grammar games, everyone cheers. When I pass out a grammar worksheet, no cheering. I include keyboarding in my curriculum because word processing is a must. My dysgraphic students must learn to use Word. It removes the spelling and grammar stumbling block immediately! How can I do more? I hope that this class will help me be a better more innovative teacher. I want next year’s students to become better readers and writers through the use of technology.