Yesterday after school, I was meeting with a group of 3rd grade teachers about how they could make use of the ipads in their classroom. While we were meeting, the most perfect interruption occurred that completely changed the entire conversation.
Trust me…I could not have planned it better than this.
As teachers were wondering about the mechanics of teaching kids how to use the technology and every barrier possible, another teacher walked in panicking over changes that kindergarteners made to her classroom devices.
After examining the “odd black” ipads and showing her how her 5 year olds went into the accessibility option and “inverted colors” (on multiple devices because it was fun), the teachers that I was working with…the ones who feared the uncertainty of technology, looked at me and said…
“Well, that answers that question. If 5 year olds could figure that out and go change other devices like that, our 3rd graders can do this too. We can’t hold back. We need to just do it. Our kids are ready.”
With the words of Whitney Houston silently playing in my head…”There comes a point when you exhale”…This was mine!
Most Kids Figure it Out
I have a 10 month old nephew and on occasion, I hand him my ipad. He doesn’t know what to do but he knows that when he touches certain things, the device responds. He gets excited and repeats it over and over and over until he remembers which touch produces the response that he loved. He then repeats.
Kids are naturally fearless…especially little ones. When you are working with teachers who are hesitant because they feel that kids “can’t”, you have to push back on that and remind them of the babies that figure it out. They always do.
Truthfully…a teacher’s hesitation isn’t really about the kids figuring it out, it’s about that teacher. We (teachers) hold kids back with our own fears and we have to stop doing that. I may not be the expert of a tool or concept but I would not keep a kid from investigating and when they figure it out, let them show you. Let them share how it works and why.
Those 5 year olds that inverted those ipads are my heroes because what they did in figuring out how to “disrupt the norm” is make “jumping right in” okay to some pretty fearful teachers.
Now we can have discussions about creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication. Now we can talk about how to use technology in a way that enhances learning…when applicable.
In the words of my friend and colleague Kristy Vincent (@bigpurplehat),
“You are more than welcome to remain in the technological cave but you are not allowed to keep kids in there with you”
Let them go…Let them go…Can’t hold them back anymore… (You’re welcome)