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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Opinion, Conflicted

Okay...I watched Mr. Brian Crosby's method of inclusion in a thoroughly moving video of his 4th graders. I read the dozens of replies. I sent the link to my entire school, and watched the video with one of my AP's. I received several positive comments about the content of the video. We even entered a situation today with a student who will be homebound for several weeks, and a teacher asked if it was something we could do. Could do? Absolutely! Except Skype is blocked at school. Sure we could request it to be unblocked, downloaded, and purchase the webcam, but by the time everything was ready our student will probably be back in school.

Enough of that...The reason I am conflicted is this is a perfect example of integrating technology, yet I'm doubting if any of the students, or Mr. Crosby for that matter, consider it tech integration. I think the genius of this "best practice" that March and Warlick spoke of last summer during and after NECC is that Skype is so simple that this is not an incident of integration, but an occasion of quality education.

I would wager two nickels Mr. Crosby's thought was more like "How can I truly make Celeste feel she is a part of our classroom?" In other words, I'm guessing the student's need came first rather than the method, technology, or attention he might receive. Knowing about Skype allowed for "just in time" implementation. He is not teaching technology, or teaching how to use technology. Sure, he may have needed a few minutes to demonstrate the software, but Skype is a phone with video...it's not difficult, even (especially) for 4th graders.

Mr. Crosby is a good teacher, not because he is using technology. He is a good teacher because he understands his students' needs (and not jsut the needs of Celeste). One of my favorite thoughts was from the young lady who wondered if Celeste would like her (how universal is that sentiment?). It's not about the technology. It is the deliverance of the promise of Web 2.0 / School 2.0. It's connecting people with people. Way to go Mr. Crosby! Special thanks to your students too...for allowing us to observe what education can become.

You can read about the whole "Messy Thing" at Mr. Crosby's blog.

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