This weekend I received an email from one of our 6th graders that I have in technology class. It was entitled "My Dad's Messed Up Animal." She wrote, "Mrs. Miller. Look at what my Dad and I created on my laptop! This is my Dad's messed up animal. We started laughing so hard because it looks really funny and funky." She also attached the animal that her Dad and her created. On Friday I showed the class Switcheroo Zoo where you can create mixed up animals and learn all about them. You can even name the animals and write a short story. It is a website that everyone loves. It is very fun and educational too.
It made me smile to think that she had taken home something she had learned in my class and shared it with her Dad. Later that same night, I got emails from two other 6th graders creating amazing mixed up animals at their homes too. I also received a Facebook message from a parent thanking me for sharing Switcheroo Zoo with their son. It had entertained their family on a Friday night.
I was so happy they were having fun creating animals on Switcheroo Zoo and other sites they found on the Van Meter Library Voice Google site, but the thing that I loved most was that they were connecting with their families through technology, creativity, and collaboration.
The MacBooks that our students have at Van Meter School have brought change not only into the school, but also into the homes of our school community. In our house, I have sat with my daughter Brianna many nights as she creates amazing iMovies using her laptop. I have stood by smiling as Brianna and her brothers laugh so hard as they take crazy pictures for an oral history project using PhotoBooth. I have watched my five year old Hagan use Skype to show his uncle Mike something he drew in preschool last year and describe the picture to him all the way in Texas. All of these experiences have made their learning more personal to not only Brianna, Brady, and Hagan, but also to our family. It has given all of us a way to connect and learn together.
My goal is for every student to collaborate, teach, and create amazing products with their families and friends using the laptops and technology. I will continue to connect my students at Van Meter to resources and experiences that they can share with others in hope that these interactions will be meaningful and special to them too.
And most of all, I hope that our students and families will have stories to share like Kacie's.