Ours is a very different classroom. Students start their day on their laptop, writing in their blog. They view pdfs and online textbooks. They use the web instead of worksheets. They create documents using Google, take tests online, write code, and master technology. They are 21st century students.
As you can see from our picture, we are a very diverse class.
Most of our students only have access to technology at school. Our school is a safe, caring environment, a special island in an otherwise difficult neighborhood. Our students are the first generation in their families to go to American schools. They realize the opportunity their parents have made for them, and are anxious to live up to the dream. They are hard workers, curious, fun young people who thrive on new challenges and have a real thirst for learning. They move forward, encounter obstacles, get knocked down, pick themselves up and press on with relentless determination. They are full of fun, laughter and love, and are more than willing to share it with everyone. They want to be great, to be successful, to be good people, to go to college, to help their families and make them proud. It is a great gift to be able to be a part of their lives everyday, and to watch them grow.
GoPro cameras have many options. They can strap them to their heads, backs, handlebars, skateboards, desks, trees, and run, dance, skate, ride, swim, teach, interview, explain, laugh, cry, and act from every angle possible. Students will learn to master the technology of video production, will plan, write, execute, edit, revise, create and publish. They will run into problems, get frustrated, take a deep breath, devise a solution, and finally finish and be thrilled to death with what they have achieved.
They will make videos on what they have learned. They will make videos that teach. They will make videos that tell a story. They will make videos that make you laugh. They will make artistic videos. They will make videos for no reason. They will make videos that will make all of us say "Wow, that's cool!" and "How did you do that?"
At school and at home. Day, night, indoors, outdoors, under water or up a tree. High, low, pointed at them, or letting us see what they see. From every angle.
As far as material things, my students are the have-nots.
They are the haves when it comes to families that love them and teachers that care about them. Putting technology in their hands gives them tools to create with, to learn with, to have fun with, and to be successful with. Cameras and videos allow them to communicate their message, to be heard, to make a difference. Mastering technology, communication, and information allows them to be a force in the future. One voice can change the world.