WARNING: If you are a regular reader of technology in education blogs, you are not going to read anything new in this post. Why bother writing the post then? In the hope that the idea will take hold for one teacher or administrator who's new to the ideas presented and because we can't ever stop talking about what our kids can do, if only we allow them the opportunities.
I've been reading, thinking and writing about the use of technology tools in schools for at least as long as I've been blogging--since July, 2006. Seldom have I seen first hand a teacher who uses the technology tools to allow students to create content.
Do you know what I mean by this? Students creating content means they are posting their own ideas in their own ways--through blogs, wikis, podcasts, videos or whatever--not just responding to a teacher prompt. It means kids are generating the ideas, expanding on their own thoughts, sharing their own work. Our students are doing this every day on YouTube and MySpace, in Second Life and in ways I don't even know about, it's just not often connected to the learning they're doing in school. And therein lies the problem for me. We should be connecting the two--we need our kids to think, to create, to problem solve. We need them to see that their ideas have merit, that their own thinking in collaboration with others can someday change the world.
In many cases, teachers who get excited about the technology tools end up using blogs and wikis to replicate activities that they normally do in class. They use the blog to ask kids to respond to a teacher prompt or they use a wiki to post their resources for students. That's not asking kids to do anything more than before, just different. And I think our kids can bring more. I believe it because I see their creativity on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook and in the videos they post on YouTube.
So how cool is this? Here are a couple of the places at Randolph Central in rural western New York, where RCS students ARE creating content on the web. I absolutely believe in the potential of our young people to think and create and solve problems, if we show them how. I'm grateful for the teachers who let their students lead in the following ways.
IMAGINE what these second graders will be able to create as high school students some day! You can't imagine it because no one knows what will be available to them. But we can be sure these students will believe in their own power to connect with others and to use this on-line world to share their ideas.
And the possibilities are limitless for these high school living environment students as they learn to understand the world around them and to share their learning with others.
I love that we can't even begin to imagine what our students will imagine, create, and share out here in the world that extends so far beyond our little town of Randolph--or how they'll do it. That is a world so full of possibility that I hope I am alive a good long time to see as much of it as I can. And I'm especially glad that we're giving our kids the tools and the opportunity to figure it all out, not just to listen to what we think it should be.