Monday, October 14, 2013

Reading Writing and...Relevance?

A few years ago, my brother and I were watching an interview with a famous professional athlete. As the stereotype goes, this particular player may not have been the sharpest pencil in the box because, to listen to him speak, it was evident that he had very little command of the English language. He mispronounced every other word. His parallel structure was mostly vertical. His grammar were incorrect, for Pete's sake!

But my brother (who, unlike yours truly, was never accused of being the smartest kid in high school) made a comment to me that I have never forgotten. He said, "You know, many people would call this guy dumb, but listen to what he is saying. He knows what he's talking about!"

I paused and really started paying attention to the content of the athlete's dialogue. Here was a large man using very specific and technical jargon to break apart an opponent's defensive strategy. He detailed not only what he needed to do in certain situations, but also outlined each of his teammates' responsibilities in relation to them. He was able to synthesize the movements of multiple individuals into a masterfully choreographed plan for success. Frankly, it was a display of intelligence that few doctors, lawyers, or university professors could have replicated, let alone comprehended.

Now, I am not claiming that this athlete was on his way to building a spaceship to Saturn. What I do contend is he certainly had mastered what went on in his own sandbox. A seemingly "uneducated" adult so very adept at his chosen craft.

I will not bore you with the reasons for his success. Obviously, this man took a great interest in what he did and had some natural ability. Thus the subsequent requirements that came with the position had a tremendous amount of relevancy to him professionally.

But what does this have to do with technology?

To answer that question, let's turn to the young woman who sits in the third row of your 5th hour History class. You know her well. Her name is Beth, and she is always on her cell phone texting anyone about anything, so long as it has nothing to do with the Westward Expansion. After all, she has always lived in Trenton, NJ, and is not aware of anything beyond the Delaware River.

What does Beth need other than longer battery life and unlimited Talk. Text, and Web?

Calvin Baker said the following about technology, "Done right, it changes both the appearance and nature of education."

What Beth, and so many of the rest of our students need is a heavy dose of technology integration that changes the way they look at learning. Between tapping a vast array of resources (Skype, Twitter, Edmodo) to creating amazing and innovative products (Aurasma, EdCanvas, iMovie) students are introduced to an entirely new way to learn and explore what interests them, using means that are comfortable (second nature) to them.

This is what relevance means to them. No longer must students rely on outdated textbooks or a teacher's singular point-of-view. Our kiddos literally have the world at their disposal. This Website is devoted to exploring today's technology made practical for implementation into classrooms...well... today. We take on the challenge of making resources relevant and applicable to students, parents, and teachers alike. Our goal is to make your life a little easier by making your students' classroom experiences more viable.

After all, 2 brothers may someday be sitting around watching a news piece about you, the smartest person in the entire sandbox.

By: Darin Anderson - Sports Junkie & Recent Sandbox Owner

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