Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Surprise Visitor

I didn't even know it, but the same day I was writing my first e-textbook, President Obama was telling the world he wants an ebook reader in the hands of every child by 2017. I was so involved in my lesson planning, that I was unaware of the current events of the week until Steffani Nolte, Multi-Media Journalist from the local news station WXOW called during third hour to ask if I would do an interview.

Only four days into my iPad pilot, and I already had a reporter wanting to do a story? I wasn't ready to go public with my project! I wasn't even sure what I was doing yet! I am no expert!! “Okay. I am available later today,” I heard myself saying,

As I watched the report on the 10:00 news (view here), what impacted me the most was how excited all of us were. It is a little hard to decipher this since the video clip has been taken down and all that is left is the transcript, but just imagine adolescents smiling and enthusiastic as they explain what we are learning in reading class. A struggling reader volunteers to read aloud for a news reporter! The teacher oozing with sappiness (and meaning it) about how exciting it is to teach like this. People often ask me how I can spend so many years teaching 13 year old kids, and this is one of the main reasons. Seventh graders are old enough to think critically at higher levels, and they still squirm in their seats like a first grader when they are excited about learning.

I don't think I am going out on a limb when I say that most of the viewership in La Crosse did not understand all that was going on in my classroom that day, but I do think they can infer that this is a class where something great is happening.  I believe it helped to set up a schema about how iPads can be used to further learning, and the next time we are in the media the public will have a better understanding.  I am delighted to provide positive press for public schools in Wisconsin and the awesome learning going on at Longfellow Middle School! We are moving toward the future, and our students are true, 21st century learners!