When I was growing up, I loved to learn. One of the things I loved learning about was animals. As a child, I had little pocket-size encyclopedias of animals. I had one on mammals, one on reptiles, one on birds and another on sea creatures. I was fascinated by those books and loved to pull them out and learn about new animals. My passion for learning also had me reading the encyclopedias my parents bought for our home. I went so far as to pull out the “A” volume and read it from page 1. What’s the second animal listed in the World Book Encyclopedia? The first is easy, it’s aardvark. The next? Aardwolf. Everyone knows about the aardvark, but I had never heard of the aardwolf. That curiosity gave me a passion for learning that continues to this day.
Now, fast forward to the 21st century. What if we had a way to access all that information with something we carry around in our pockets? Or even better, what if we could actually spend less money and get a bigger version of a smartphone--something that would allow us to access all the information we are passionate about on a larger screen but is still small enough for us to carry around wherever we go?
I’m talking about a tablet, of course! Whether an iPad or an Android, these portable tools will allow students to look up information they are excited about any time they want. With a quick search of the Apple App Store, I found various versions of animal encyclopedias. The apps even allow you to see animations and hear the animals' sounds (e.g. Mammals by Tinybop). That is something I couldn’t do with my paper books. And since these apps are downloadable, no internet connection is required to learn.
This is why I do what I do. I am passionate about technology, and I am passionate about learning. Now I know how to put the two together to help any child learn.
I also believe that COVID-19 is providing us a great opportunity. It’s giving us a chance to hit the pause button and reflect on education. It’s allowing us to ask ourselves, “Is there a better way?” How can we use students’ passion for learning and combine it with technology to change education? I read a recent article by EdSurge that also describes how the current situation can help us focus on students’ interests and encourage them to learn.
As always, let us know how we can help. Contact me anytime.
A discussion on student privacy issues.
Looking for a way to utilize your new iPad more effectively? Check out these free apps:
Passion! As educators, we know that some of our best lessons come from the most unexpected places, but we definitely have to have our ears and hearts open to absorb these great musings.