They (kids) were collaborating. They were working at their own pace. They barely noticed the technology; it was like air to them. But it changed the relationship they had with their teacher. Instead of fidgeting in their chairs while the teacher lectures and scrawls some notes on the blackboard, they were the explorers, the discoverers, and the teacher was their helpful guide.
At this point, I am reminded of my last post where I highlighted NCTE's definition of what it means to be literate. Yes, part of the definition says "develop proficiency with the tools of technology." However, with a level of proficiency also comes a level of fluency that will ultimately help facilitate a learning experience far beyond that which educators were able to do in the past.
So it's not so much about the tools but more about the learning experience.
But the way I see it is there are two sides to this coin; the teacher's proficiency and the students'. Our students have been "bathed in bits" since birth and we however remember a time before the Internet.
Perhaps we as teachers are the bottle neck in this equation.
However, I think there can be a symbiotic relationship here between teacher and student. I suppose it's like a generational Ying and Yang.
I think our generation of teachers can balance a student's impulsiveness with steadiness. I think we can balance their quick fix mindedness with perseverance. I think educators have an opportunity to model the Habits of Mind that are necessary for a 21st Century Thinker, as our students continue to model a sense of fearlessness.
We are not opposing forces but can work together interdependently in a way that will benefit everyone.
Keep on keepin' on!