Monday, September 28, 2009

It's not the tech - it's the connection

I'm not a wiki evangelist, nor do I glorify any tech tools above the real connection between people which is where true learning begins. It's not about tech for tech's sake; it's what these powerful tools can do in the hands of teachers and students who dare to be creatively different and change with the times.

We all know, or have heard stories of expensive tech toys and tools that sadly 'collect dust' because of under use. If we were honest with ourselves, we could probably think of ten ways to better use the tech that we have at our disposal. (Come on now, admit that you don't really know everything that you can do with microsoft word.) Buying bigger, better and faster tech won't make us better teachers but the desire to grow beyond the boundaries of who we are today and what we know now certainly will. Tech (laptops, smartboards, wikis, blogs, podcasts, screencasts, whatever) is a powerful way to grow. When students see their teachers leading them into new and exciting waters, they become adept swimmers. OK, enough with the metaphors I can hear you saying. Now it's time for the video that illustrates my point.

This is the story of PS22, a public school in New York replete with all the budget and social problems you can image an inner city school faces. But one teacher with one guitar and his video camera had an idea; he filmed his kids singing Landslide by Fleetwood Mac and sent it to Stevie Nicks. She was blown away by the gesture and invited the choir to sing for her at Madison Square Gardens. Listen to the song and be prepared for goosebumps.

This teacher is an example of low tech and high creativity blowing the walls right out of the classroom. He made a direct connection between the learning in class and the 'real world'. He could have filmed this with a digital camera! You see, it's not the tech; it's the creativity and the desire to grow and be as much as we can be. So, what tool can you use to help your students grow and what challenges are you going to present to them?
Go to Youtube for other PS22 choir videos and check out their blog at:
In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. ~Eric Hoffer

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