Middle School Digital Device – Early Reflections

water drop

‘Tranquility’ http://www.flickr.com/photos/27238916@N04/2875665576

Ms. Donnelly asked her students to create a Google Doc as we started the project. Some students shared theirs with me so I could read their reflections. Our plan is to have them blog about them soon, but I thought I would share one students as I think it captures the excitement and adjustments that students are experiencing.

Laptop Day 1
Right now I am really happy because I got the laptop. We have been talking about this for the past two months. I am so excited right now. I am very glad that Mr.Schaefer chose our class to give the laptops to. I feel really lucky that I have a laptop.  Now I have to be more consistent of my things. For example I have to keep my messenger bag empty so that I can put my laptop in it. Also that I have to be more careful with what I do so that I can keep my laptop. Once I am allowed to bring my laptop home I will be doing most of my homework on it. I would mostly be using Google Docs, Word, Pages, or what ever I can use that will help me.  This will be a way easier way to help me learn. I think that technology attracts a kid. I still want to be writing on paper. Having the laptops is really going to help us in the future. People use computers all the time at work. Sometimes people that have to work with a computer don’t know that much about computers and it takes them a long time to get used to it. 

Laptop Day 2

Today as I looked around the room when Mrs. Donnelly said we were going to open the computers every ones face LIT UP with joy! My own face showed a huge smile. Every time I open my laptop I feel like I just opened a big bag of gold. I feel like it shines and its the brightest thing in the room. When I touch the power button its like pushing the launch button on a rocket to the moon. After two or three minutes I look up from my screen and see everyone so engaged in their laptop that it makes me smile a BIG, BIG, BIG, BIG smile ( it makes me look funny)! I am so excited for what we are going to do with the laptops in the future. 

Laptop Day 3

Today we have a really short period because of the half day schedule. At the beginning of class Mrs. Donnelly told us what we were going to do today in class. At the end of the schedule it said laptops. We did our vocabulary and we wrote down our homework in our planner. We did that for one period and now we are doing the laptops for the second period. Today, I felt good when the laptops were out. I don’t know why but whenever the laptops are out there’s just a warm feeling in the room. It makes everybody calm and focused. We have about two more minutes of laptop time till we have to put away our laptops. Since everybody knows we only have two minutes left they are typing really quickly to finish what they started doing.

Emphasis is mine as I thought these statements stood out as to what students think about using technology and even paper. I am reminded of a blog post I read yesterday that discusses how we tend to romanticize the past and what we remember we did as children.

Chris Wejr wrote a very telling post that I resonated with as I watch my grandchildren use digital tools as well as gymnastics and other activities. In addition, they love coming to our farm and going on nature walks or helping to feed the horses. Balance is a goal to most things in life, but we should not block all activities, rather guide those who are watching us to help them make wise decisions.

We often look to our past through a lens of ‘that is how things should be done today’. This past week I have read a few articles and posts about how we need to return to the old, better ways of doing things and how ‘kids these days’ are lazy and have such a sense of entitlement.


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One thought on “Middle School Digital Device – Early Reflections

  1. As I am rereading your post I can only think of one thing and that is decision making. Students brought home their laptops yesterday for the first time. They had to decide when to use it and for what purpose. They had to decide if using the school device was more effective than using what they are used to working with at home. When they arrived at school this morning with laptops in hand, there was the excitement of a “new” experience but at the same time there were new decisions to make. How would they carry the laptop around from class to class? How would they ask about using it in class without disrupting the transition in the classroom? Would the use of the laptop enhance their experience and learning? There is much to discover every day. Technology or not, decision making is an important life skill. Students need to pay attention, prioritize, think about their needs vs. the needs of the group as a whole, and so much more. Some are situations we anticipated and discussed and others will be split second decisions as they travel through their day. I will see them during the last period of the day. I cannot wait to sit down and talk face to face about what is happening in the moment. I read their reflections last night on Google Forms but effective teachers know that learning happens in so many ways. I am thankful for the technology to enhance their learning and hope others know that communication continues to be dynamic and multi-faceted as it always has been. My decision was to trust them to make their own decisions today. I can’t wait to hear how it went!

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