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 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?