I received this fantastic story last week from our good friend and great educator Laura Spencer. She agreed to share it through a guest blog. Enjoy, Melinda
My parents live in a gated community. In order to open the gate, guests must know the magical and top secret code. Because my 16 year old daughter, Alex, was driving, I told her the code was "O-A-K-S- pound.”
With a look of confusion in her eyes, she stared at the keypad. Then, remembering the old days of texting on not-so-smart phones, she hit the 6 button three times. When I asked her what she was doing, she said she was typing ‘O’. Since the 6 button has M-N-O, it made sense to her that she would hit the 6 button three times.
I explained to her that, in the olden days before smart phones, we used letters to remind us of a phone number. We didn’t actually type in the letters.
So when I told her “O-A-K-S” what I really meant was “6-2-5-7.” I thought were were past the hurdle. But after she typed in the four numbers, she paused and then looked at me again. “What’s a pound button?”
After a quick chuckle, I explained that "pound" is the button with a hashtag on it.
Not only is technology changing how we learn in the world, it’s also changing how we view the world. A simple concept to us may no longer be a simple, or relevant, concept to our students.
It’s not just the pound button that is obsolete. How many of you had a student ask why a square icon represents a save button? Floppy disk? What is that???
What does this mean for us as educators?
It means we need to take off our glasses, and look through the lenses of the Google glasses that our students will one day wear. We need to be strategic about how we implement technology in the classroom because it’s not our technological world. It’s theirs.
So much talk these days revolves around the SAMR model, and how teachers need to focus on moving their lessons from the Substitution level to the Redefinition level. But exactly who defines what activities fall in to these categories? Is it the teacher or the student?
Puentedura, creator of the SAMR model, defines Redefinition as allowing for the “creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable.” Inconceivable to whom? The teacher who has been using worksheets for twenty years, or the 12 year old student sitting in my teacher training last month who completed a fabulous iMovie movie trailer in thirty minutes; the same amount of time it took to get teachers to find iMovie, open it, and look at the sample videos.
To that student, a movie trailer is not redefinition. It’s the world she inhabits. It’s as natural to her as typing “O-A-K-S” on a keypad is to me.
So now what?
We need to make sure that the apps we are choosing to bring in to the classroom, the apps that we are using to redefine the learning, aren’t just a keypad wrapped with a fancy bow. They need to truly encompass this technological world that our students have always known.
Be critical in your app and website choices. Ellicit student feedback, or better yet, let them discover the means to represent their learning.
It’s not about them using the pound button. It’s about us using the hashtag.
Ed Tech Director, Lakeside Union School District, CA