Yesterday I had the pleasure of doing exactly what I am supposed to do in the job laid out for me. A third grade teacher and I collaborated to have the students produce a project while integrating their social studies and their technology skills acquisition simultaneously. How’s that for a run-on sentence! Their task was to find pictures from an online collection, save them, insert them into Word, and create captions…not brain surgery or web 2.0ish but critical skills and most importantly, connected to their curriculum on Native Americans. In the perfect world, we would have had three days to complete the project. We had 40 minutes that we pushed to 50 by skipping snack. The kids were outstanding. They paid close attention and worked swiftly. They were led through the task one step at a time and then set to their own devises for the second time through to complete the steps again. I marveled at how quickly some of them picked up the steps and counseled those who did not. But all complaints about time aside, this is the kind of collaboration for which we hope. It is my (our) sincere desire to build learning experiences for kids that allow them to put their core content learning into the context of technology rather than working on technology within a vacuum. At the end of the day and a de-brief with the gung-ho teacher, I found myself with a few lingering questions…

How do we articulate the value of basic skills in technology when our digital natives are all about games and fun? Is there still value in working on tasks in Microsoft Office (for example) when these tools may be obsolete by the time these children reach the workforce or even high school? How do we help teachers see that collaboration is necessary for student success AND debunk our assumptions that d.n.’s already know how to use all of these tools?

These questions I leave for another post on another day; I will allow myself a few more hours to bask in the glow of victory in the form of integration bliss.

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