Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Becoming "Techknowledgeable"

When my students returned after the winter break and wrote their reflections (see Focusing on the Journey), one of my students wrote that he had become "techknowledgeable" since beginning 5th grade. When I conferenced with this student, I asked him to explain what he meant by this word. He explained that before entering 5th grade, he didn't know how many things could be done on a computer. He said that he thought computers were for playing games and for grown-ups to do boring work on. As he continued, he explained that things like the wikis, podcasts, and digital stories really helped him express his thoughts and create something fun for others to enjoy too. Pretty observant for a 10-year-old, exceptional education student, huh?

We've just finished publishing our 6th Edition of The Coast to Coast Chronicles with over 300 other students (our page is the Alabama page). This digital journal's theme for this edition was investigating the habitats around us. Students focused on plants and animals in their areas and created content to share with the other students. By doing this, each student got to become an expert and teach all of the students through their writing and publishing. While working on their individual writing projects, students worked with their peers, bouncing ideas of of one another, editing, giving feedback, providing tech support, and generally being supportive.

For the student mentioned above (and many of my other students), this was a huge step in him not only learning content, but finding his voice and applying it in a meaningful way. For a student who usually struggled to gain success, technology, used with collaboration of his peers, gave him the ability to not only be successful, but also give back to our learning community. I doubt that anyone in his life went without hearing about the digital story because he was so proud of his accomplishment. His final digital story has been published in this edition. Now he's thoroughly engaged in his next writing project, demonstrating how "techknowledgeable" he has become with even more tech tools.

For many of our learners, technology provides for them the opportunity to succeed beyond traditional methods.  They are able to overcome many of their obstacles in order to create outstanding work by being able to interact, create, and apply the knowledge that they are gaining while collaborating with their peers.  He recognized the power of technology being used to support his learning in a meaningful way because the technology aided him in becoming knowledgeable. Just like this student, others can find that success that has been eluding them in previous years. I think it's time all of our students become "techknowledgeable", don't you?

1 comment:

  1. I have heard it said that children are fabulous observers but poor interpreters, which leads to many of the interesting questions they ask their parents and teachers. By the same token, we are quick to say that children today are so good with technology. The question is, "Are they good at the right things?" Are they proficient at finding and playing games, or are they finding ways to find knowledge and communicate their own worthy thoughts to a large audience.

    Children will learn navigate a computer just fine on their own. But to use it in the right way takes a teacher who is "techknowledgeable."