As I’ve shared some of my THIS IS IT moments over the last little while, I started reflecting on those moments over my career.
FPC, the Fallingdale Publishing Company, started as a digital newspaper (yes, I’m that old) and moved in to a media production studio over time. A small group of junior friends would create media products for school events over the lunch hour. We decided to create our own fairy tale remixes and a group of guys decided to create the gassy frog prince (standard topic for a junior group). We were planning our stories in groups, writing a script for our final recording when I glanced over. I watched the group of guys sitting in a circle on a table chatting through their script. In that group there were friends that soared with academics and others that had to work a bit harder, some that were social butterflies and others that preferred smaller groups. It didn’t seem to matter in that moment as ideas bounced back and forth, as the group engaged in collaboratively creating. It was at that moment that I saw the power of innovating and the way a digital tool or strategy could inspire a new approach.
I thought the grade 2 blog was a failure. Our learners were exploring Global Communities and we decided to set up a blog using voicethread to collect ideas and questions. I had big hopes to connect with friends globally and after waiting patiently for a week no one posted to our Voicethread. I was definitely disappointed. I had a sample story of growing up in Europe on our blog so a friend came with a bunch of artifacts one day to add her own voicethread. Over recess we took pictures, put them in her story and had her add her voice. Lo and behold friends kept coming at recess to share more about their culture. Students found a voice in a simple class blog.
I was in one of my last linguistics courses working on a project on Icelandic. How I ended up with Icelandic I have no clue. I couldn’t find much on the topic in the libraries but stumbled upon an email address. So I opened that dark DOS screen email and composed my message. I was shocked to get a reply a few days later. It was my first time seeing the power of technology to create global connections.
My THIS IS IT moments reminded me of the power of technology to spark conversations, share our identities, create connections. We often see posters that peg pedagogy against technology, battling it out to see which one carries more of the weight. I realized as I reflected on my stories that perhaps technology can come before the pedagogical links but above all else it comes after our learners. Each story brought me back to the competent, capable empowered modern learner using the tools to spark new learning journeys, share their identities and create connections to the community.
As much as I love technology, I love the power of technology in the hands of learners more. I have seen it change conversations, engage the disengaged, put big learners in a co-learning stance. How can we resist when we have a chance to empower a learner in new ways?