Saturday afternoon I spent learning about iOS 7.0, best apps for creating videos and posters and how one grade 8 class uses technology from my 13 year old neighbour.
Our impromptu tech lesson began with my young neighbour explaining and demonstrating why I needed to update my iPad from its current setting to the iOS 7.0 software update. It fascinated me to see his ease with using both my iPad and iPhone. His fingers were like tiny ballerinas twirling and gliding around, with absolute confidence, the stage the screens provided. My young teacher remained very patient and took the time to answer all of my questions. And when he couldn’t, he searched it out, experimented and then offered me his opinion as to what would work best for me and my capabilities.
Knowing how knowledgeable this young man is, I asked him how technology was used in his class. He explained that they have a SmartBoard that the teacher uses to display the lesson. He shared that students interact with the board when answering questions or explaining their thinking. I asked him if they use technology, other than the SmartBoarad, when doing projects. He said that they often used different video apps.
What I came to realize is that for students, in Kindergarten to grade 8, the use of technology really isn’t a novelty for them as it is for some educators. Most students are playing with technology 24/7. Playing with technology is simply a a part of their lifestyle.
Interestingly enough, my neighbours use of technology to share his learning is not much different than my own as a child. We went to the chalkboard to show our thinking and answer questions. We used videos for our projects. The point I am trying to make is students are still doing the same things in class that my generation did, just with new tools. As many educators have come to realize, technology in many classrooms has not yet improved the education of our students. In my role as a learning consultant, what role can I play in supporting teachers in using technology to improve the learning of our students?
The role I can play is modelling the learning experience with my neighbour. I gave him a target: help your “old” lady with her tech devices. He took this as a challenge and went above and beyond seeking out hawkers to my questions. As mentioned, he modelled and adaptated his teaching to meet my needs. Because of my questions, he not only learned something new, but he will be able to retain the information and apply later on I his life. Is this not what we are trying to do in our classrooms? I am sure many teachers are already giving students a problem to solve and, within reason, letting them loose to figure it out using what ever tools they prefer. My experience this weekend finally helped me to understand how technology is not just another tool; it creates life long learners!
I am also curious to know what type of EC and I 831 classes will be offered to the youth of today when they start on their Masters classes? I am thankful for all that I am being taught in my Social Media and Open Education class as it is helping me to grow as a digital literate member of society. I wonder if in 10 years, I will be retaking social media classes with today’s teens in order to keep my head above the Social Media water?