Thursday, 21 August 2014

Giving Students A Voice

Tech as a Voice Tool

While we were away this summer on our family vacation to Nashville, a tragedy struck. One of our family dogs escaped her boarding and was hit by a car.  Our sweet dog was killed because she was able to find a way out of her own personal run and the fenced in yard. (Two locked fenced in areas)  This was so hard to deal with as we were so far away and so unexpected.  There was no chance to say good bye. 

As many of you know I have three children. My youngest is under a year so the grief didn't make an impact on my wee little babe.  My older two children however we devastated.  It was difficult as a parent to help them grieve, especially when it felt so abstract and unfathomable.

 The only idea that I had was a slide show of images.  We do this at funerals for people as a way to say goodbye and honour their memory. Perhaps doing the same thing would help my children say goodbye and honour her.

That is what we did.  As a family we created a slide show.  My children choose the images, template and wording. They needed a little assistance with music, transitions and speed. Keep in mind they are younger and this was their first slide show. (You can watch it below if you would like)

What did I learn from this? 

The technology was a tool for my children.
 It gave them a voice when they didn't have the words or understanding.

1. The video empowered my children.

They felt in control of how they presented the information. They wanted to convey to the world how sweet Evee was.  They wanted the whole world to know her the way they did. Giving them the chance to create this slide show gave them that sense.

2. They wanted to share

So often I have thought about how controversial at times it is to put student work out in the real virtual world.  Yet, when the slide show was completed the first thing my children asked for was for me to share it. 

"I want the whole world to know her".  

Even at a young age they know the power of connection. They know they are sharing with people they know and people they don't know. They know what they are doing will be watched, will serve a purpose and will make an impact.  Giving them that chance-empowered them.

3. It gave them a voice

They are little people who are still learning their way in this world. Sharing and creating this slide show gave them a voice. They were able to share with the world how much of an impact our family dog had in their lives. It gave them a voice to communicate their feelings and emotions.  

Technology so often in classrooms is used as an add on.  We all have been guilty of it and have witnessed other teachers do it as well.  I have learned from this experience to not take that for granted. Technology is a very powerful tool to help students experience, communicate,explore, evaluate and share their world.

"Technology is a very powerful tool to help students experience, communicate, explore, evaluate and share their world."  -M.Verwey

As educators we should help them and give them time to do just that. This year I promise to try to use technology as just that....a tool for them and not just and add on to a lesson or as something cool to do. 

1 comment:

  1. Evee looks like such an amazing pet, what an unbelievably sad story. I'm so sad for your family's loss. I smiled at the photo at 0:43 when Evee looks like a human.

    I think you were brilliant to have your kids create this slideshow. It will be a wonderful keepsake and something that you can share with the world, as you've done here.

    When our family cat died several years ago, my husband, two brothers, parents and I went through years of digital photos and cried and laughed together at the memories of moody Gunner. I ended up posting an album on Facebook called, "Tribute to a Viking Warrior" about our cat. I love looking back on it.

    Using technology in such a powerful way really did give your children a voice. I love that they, themselves, expressed that they wanted to share this far and wide. Creating content online and sharing it openly is remarkably empowering and so important. Password protecting student-created material makes us miss out on learning with and from each other.


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