For the past few years, I’ve shared many social media postings about my #edtechdad, who earned that name because of his adoration of tech company branded t-shirts. He has never actually used any of the products that he freely advertises around town but that doesn’t stop him from talking about them. As a matter of fact, until a month ago…aside from his former employee entry computer, my father has never been on an internet enabled device himself.
Back in February, after engaging in an online mission to disrupt the Slave Simulation game, created by Mission US, I started researching the slave roots within my own family. This was unchartered territory as it is known widely within my family that my great great grandfather insisted upon avoiding the conversation at all cost as he was considered a product of slavery even though slavery itself had ended. So, even though my father knew the names of his relatives, he did not know anything about their lives and learning about them intrigued him.
As we searched and uncovered details, my father became more and more interested in the tools that were enabling him to make connections that he always longed to do. He could not believe that so much of his family history was located online, searchable at any time. Eventually we handed him his own ipad and he has been hooked since.
My Dad’s Journey Into Tech
My father’s adoption of technology was not an overnight process. As a matter of fact, if you told him one month ago that he would be toting around an ipad mini, he would have given you the best “get away from me” face ever and walked away. These days, my dad is using his ipad to further dig into his history…searching digital archives and artifacts for the gaps in our family history that he never knew.
So far, he has traced back at least 12 generations of our “Adams/Hearne” relatives from Hearne, TX to Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina, Maryland and London, England. He has located primary documents that further connected not only the missing roots of his great grandfather but also the financial ramifications and gain of his family as slave owners and slaves…with no identity.
Yesterday, my father asked me to share a few postings to my social sites so that our family could benefit from some of his stories. One of his postings was about the teacher from his primary years who passed away Thursday. He wanted her story to be shared. In addition, my father suggested that he could and should start putting as many of his stories online as possible so that our future generations would know of the history that he uncovered.
My father wanted me to post this dedication to his 1st grade teacher who passed away Thursday. In 1959 Berry Joyce Whiteside, fresh out of college, taught her first class of 1st grade students at Blackshear Elementary in Hearne, TX. My dad is on the top row 3 students to the left of Mrs. Whitehead. My dad still remembers how she made learning fun with relevant reading and games. She loved her class and they loved her too. Today, we salute her memory
Learning from my Father
This past January…I published my book, The Missing Voices in Edtech: Bringing Diversity into Edtech. In chapter 2, I talked about the perception of teachers when it comes to tech. In it, I described four types of teachers…
- Tech-Fearless Educator (leads, teaches, shares, creates, adopts, mentors)
- Tech-Compliant Educator (learns what is asked and uses)
- Tech-Reluctant Educator (fear hinders progress)
- Anti-Everything Educator (not trying to hear about anything new)
I found several correlations between these descriptions and my father as he made his trek to becoming a tech user/creator. Although he was not that into using technology, my dad has always been a little curious and I would definitely go as far as calling him reluctant.
The difference for him was that we found his “trigger”…something that made technology necessary. He wanted to know about his roots and he wanted to do it himself without our assistance.
I joked around that he did it all without any professional development. Technically, that is true. However, he did have help. Between myself and the kids of our family, he has learned not only how to navigate the device but search, curate and even share.
As I mentioned earlier, he has asked about ways to put his stories online and we are currently exploring those options for ways that are simple enough for him to get started yet searchable for our family and friends to find it.
My dad, a man of 63 years…who has only been a technology user for about one month, is about to get a domain of his own.
In his words…if he can do it, anyone can do it.
All you need is “the trigger”, access and support.