Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Technology and The Unique Child

The other day I was shucking corn in my sink for supper and came across this:

I immediately felt a blog coming on. I had been living this visual out for weeks. If I were to title this photo, I would call it "The Beauty of Uniqueness." When I looked into my sink I saw the 3 perfectly formed ears of corn that acted and looked just like they were suppose to act and look. Then my eyes fell on the other ear, I personally found beauty in it's inability to line up, it's chaos formed kernels that seemed a little large and misplaced soothed me somehow. On the other hand, my youngest daughter walked by and said, "What's the matter with THAT one?" I responded a little indignantly and said, "Not a thing, there is beauty in difference." She replied haphazardly, "I don't find it pretty" and she left the room.

So, it got me thinking...as a teacher of technology, I often see the "unique" student blossom when using the tools that I push around in a cart all day from room to room. In my case, I seem to see that the more non-social, lower achievers truly find their niche when using technology for learning. Perhaps it is because they can interact with their devices without fear of ridicule or judgment. Perhaps it is because technology is often their escape and so it is a natural fit for them for educational purposes.

What I see is a need met and an opportunity taken. I see the student that might be a little unique who may not look or act like the run of the mill student excel with technology. I see this student realize that technology can be an equality maker. Oftentimes the "geek," the non-social, the slower learner, is the kid that other students are looking over their shoulder and saying, "Wow, how did you do that?" Or maybe for the first time ever they are the kids that are keeping up in class due to assistive technology options. Technology gives them confidence.

This photo shows me the beauty of uniqueness. Maybe it is because I am the technology teacher that sees an otherwise non-school oriented child blossom. Maybe it is because down deep I've always thought I was more like that fourth ear of corn. Maybe it is because I know that all four of those ears TASTED EXACTLY THE SAME. Maybe it is because I want to use my training to tap into opportunities that have seemed impossible in the past. Maybe it is because I have two children that really do not enjoy learning and I love to learn and can not imagine someone not wanting to be like that. Whatever the reason, I hope that technology will continue to evolve to help meet the needs of the unique and the not so unique students.

I look forward to more "smart apps" that react to students answers and to challenge students where they are. I look forward to augmented reality apps that changes reality with virtual graphics to help us think deeper, solve bigger, and dream endlessly. I look forward to giving my students choices using technology to create "projects" based on their likes. I look forward to being open to new and different every single day...I look forward to teaching the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs (definitely two unique ears of corn) and leading them to understand their uniqueness as a member of the body of Christ.