Support Operation Smile and the 6th Graders at ISB by donating here http://www.tinyurl.com/isboperationsmile
Support Operation Smile and the 6th Graders at ISB by donating here http://www.tinyurl.com/isboperationsmile

There are days like yesterday when everything comes together technologically that allows you to create some of the most amazing artifacts.

Yesterday The Thinking Chick (my wife) sat down at around 2 o’clock and started working on a video that she wanted to create about her recent Operation Smile trip to Surin, Thailand with 9 middle school students.

8 Hours later she had created what I truly think is an amazing video capturing students feelings and reflections about the trip.

I was so proud of her. I didn’t help her out except to make lunch and dinner and keep her water glass full (still 90F here in Thailand….ug). About two hours into creating the video she looked at me and said “This is kind of addicting” to which of course I just smiles and refilled her water glass.

I don’t think we stop enough to really think about the power of the tools and the ease of use we have at our fingertips. Using iMovie ’09, a program that she had only about an hour of time playing with, she was able to manipulate video, audio, pictures, and words to create a heart felt video. I just marvel at her ability to see the movie in her head and then figure out how to put it all together on her own. An amazing testimonial to the power of the tools and my talented wife.

Of course that’s one thing….to have an adult take the time to sit down and create a video like this. But then Owain, a student that went on the trip, decided that he too wanted to share what he took away from the trip. So using Movie Maker on his computer at home, and in less than a day created this video. He sent the link to my wife in an e-mail that simple stated:

It’s nothing special, but it’s how I see it personally.

Nothing special? Other than here was a student so touched by his experience that he felt the need to share it with the world. He didn’t do it for a grade….because we don’t grade students on things like this. He didn’t do it because he was asked to, he did it because he was moved to.

This is what happens when we stop talking about technology and just let it be. Let it be what we do, let it do what it was meant to do; To create ideas, to share feelings, to communicate with the world. When we stop trying to use technology and just let it be is when it affects us the most.

This morning before leaving for work I was enjoying a cup of coffee with The Thinking Chick (the new nickname for my wife by my colleagues). We were discussion a video created by one of Chad Bates‘ students in class.

Me: “It’s a great video! And think how much more she’s going to remember about Excel. Way more then she would if someone just told her how to do it.”

Thinking Chick: “Yeah, but it’s not really about Excel right? I mean you’re always preaching about the skill is more important than the content. That the process she went through to teach herself Excel and how to create a graph is where the real learning took place.”

Me: “Yeah, but she now has the skill of creating a graph in Excel.”

Thinking Chick: “But that is actually just content right? Excel is going to change, creating graphs are going to change. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad she knows how to create a graph, but the larger picture here is that she learned how to learn. When Excel changes, when created a graph changes she will be able to learn to do it again. She knows, or is learning, how to learn. Isn’t that what you are always saying?”


Yes, that is what I’m always saying that the content is great, and we need the content for the here and now, but the bigger picture is this girl was working on a life long skill of researching, learning, and then sharing her knew found knowledge with the world by created a video. That is what I’m always saying!

Even I find change difficult. I was so excited about the content that I took my eye off the real learning. That’s what I love about the Thinking Chick. She keeps me focused, keeps me real, and when I do get excited about the technology piece she brings me back to the learning. To what we are here to do….teach students how to learn.

I too constantly battle with this change thing. I was taught the same way everyone else was. I was talk to learn….and, well that’s it…just learn.

I do seek change. In my job (6 different positions in 7 years) in my life (3 different countries in 7 years) and in my thinking (constantly reorganizing my rss reader). But it’s a mental shift that even I from time to time fail to reach.

I hope everyone has a Thinking Chick either at work or at home that constantly pushes your thinking both in education and in life.