This is a question I am often asked by parents at the beginning of 6th grade when students are required to have a laptop for our middle school program. I tend not to say too much, but show them through other students’ work why I think it is essential to be tech savvy in this ever changing world. The words that do come to mind when thinking about this question are - excitement, passion, empowerment, creation, collaboration and sharing globally.
I recently sat through a long but exhilarating day of student led conferences where my 6th grade students had used their technology skills to plan, create and share a presentation about themselves as learners. They all used Google presentations and although the frills and level of content differed, each and every student was able to stand proud and share with their parents some very thoughtful reflections about their strengths, challenges and goals. I was amazed at their clarity and conviction of how important their learning was to each one. Parents were delighted to hear the level of self-awareness their children possessed, and one father stated that if this was a job interview, he would definitely hire his son. He also said that he knew many adults who could not do what his son had just accomplished.
So what does this really have to do with technology? I have had very successful student led conferences in the past where students have prepared similarly with observations, reflections and goal settings with a packet of information and work to share.
So what was the difference? Technology - Google Presentations…
1. The creation of a presentation that was meaningful to the students
2. The presenting of themselves, which was so empowering for each student (not reading off a packet of papers)
3. Students being in total charge of the conference
4. Making it real by doing what adults in many professions
This was real to the students…they were in charge; reflecting on themselves as learners, creating something powerful and sharing with others.
I can't wait for the next round....