Technology and Other Things: Coding, Joy and Learning by Doing

It’s sad to me that some teachers still see technology as some “additional thing” that has to be done in addition to the important stuff of learning…you know, the “testable things”. It’s also tough to hear “techies” refer to the apps and tools as the “end all, be all” to learning. At the same token, I live a life where the technology is integral and important and not to me, but to the children around me…the ones in my home who reap the benefits of my technological knowledge while living their own edu life of tech disconnectedness.

Sometimes I feel that I live on this “middle plane” in between the dire need of technology access and all of the other things of education. We talk about being “content driven” and while I do agree to that, I also know that there is value in learning outside of content. We talk about not using tech for the sake of tech but there is value in knowing how certain technologies work.

It’s not about the tech…but then again, it is.

The other day, I sat with my 9 year old nephew coding the “dancing yeti” via Google’s Made with Code. He’s always shown great interest in all sorts of creative pursuits but NOT coding…until now. His thinking process was not just about coding in order to see the yeti dance but learning this new idea and wondering how he could apply it in other ways.

His questions…

  • Can I save this picture and do other things with it?
  • How can I download this video if it doesn’t give me a button to download?
  • How can I use this Yeti in my other projects?
  • What else can I do with coding?

Those questions were the reason that I created the TACKK below and also why last night happened.

See on
Coding Beyond the Yeti

Last night, Braeden went through last year’s hour of code lessons for the first time and was completely enthralled in not only the application of learning but in something that I often hear described by Dean ShareskiJOY! Each completed task brought excitement that is typically reserved for puppets. It was as if each task unlocked another window of opportunity and it was beautiful to watch and experience.

I was even reminded that when he was 4, we bought him a “Barney” that plugged into a computer. He gleefully said…

“Auntie…I was coding back when I was 4 because I had to program Barney to say what I wanted him to say just like I’m doing with these Angry Birds. I’ve experienced this before and even more so in minecraft. When I make machines with red-stone and levers, it’s just like this!! So Awesome!!”

That connection was made while talking about “If then” and “If else” statements, which he’ll come to learn as conditionals in geometry and I imagine that he’ll make some connection then as well.

It was at this moment that I made my own connection…that sometimes technology supports the content but sometimes it is so much more than that.

Sometimes, it’s simply for fun or “just because” and when that happens, technology becomes a catalyst for wonder. It’s this act of blatant “disrespect” of content where some of the most curiosity driven innovations were born.

  • I wonder if I can find a way to edit this video in a way that hasn’t been done.
  • I wonder if I edit this picture to be something else.
  • I wonder if I can learn advanced math or discover a new way.
  • I wonder if I can learn about this disease and stop it.
  • I wonder if I can publish my own book.
  • I wonder if I can write and publish my own music.
  • I wonder if I can start my own company.
  • I wonder if I can design and print a prosthetic limb for my friend.

I wonder if I can create something that will change the educational experience for kids like me who didn’t quite fit into the “standardized box” of education.

I wonder…

In case you missed it…Technology, at its core, provides opportunities to extend, dig deeper, create and wonder. Every kids deserves this…every single one.

PS: GTAATX folks…this is my essence…THIS

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