Until this weekend, I have been ignorant to the fact that 12 year olds, do more than just use the internet to play games, socialize, read, listen to music, watch videos and look up information for school assignments…
While playing cards with my family this Thanksgiving weekend, my 12 year old niece started using sign language to communicate her needs/ wants. Shocked, I asked where she learned how to sign? She said, in her “are you seriously asking me this kind of way”, on the internet.
Immediately I was making connections to my EC&I 831 class and the information I have learned about MOOCs. Could she has fallen upon a sign language MOOC? Much to her annoyance I continued to question her. Where on the internet did you learn how to sign? On YouTube,clearly she was thinking “and you are a teacher”. Interesting…where on YouTube I pressed? Knowing that I was very much invested in finding out about her new acquired talent, she started divulging the ins and outs of learning sign language.
You see, she has been watching a television series called Switched at Birth. The series is about two young girls who were switched at birth and one of the girls developed meningitis at young age, subsequently leaving her deaf. Though I have not yet watched an episode, my niece explained that there are subtitles posted when the young girl signs. My niece explained that she didn’t want to read the subtitles anymore so she started watching Sign Language 101 videos on YouTube. She told me she had been doing this for a number of weeks.
I love it! This little wack-a-doodle of a niece of mine went out on her to learn about something that inspired her, something that was on T.V.! She took it the initiative to educate herself. No one was giving her a mark or a reward. No one was nagging at her to practice. In fact no one really knew she was learning sign language until she used it during our family card game!
Boy were my eyes opened!
I wonder what else our up-and-coming future is not only learning about putting into practice in non-formal ways?
I also wonder, and will look into when I have a free minute, what MOOCs are available and appropriate for children!