Friday, March 13, 2015

To Have and to Hold

Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to be in the vanguard of educational technology. 20 years ago, I had a computer and printer actually in my classroom, when most of the others were in labs. I wrote a grant for a phone line and modem so that my students could have email pen pals back in 1996, and the same year I asked the principal for an LCD projector so that we might watch movies and view other electronic presentations in our awesome theater. Not too long after that, I had one of the first SmartBoards in our school, and I also introduced the document camera to the building (by offering to pilot it, of course!) There is a strong web-based component to my English class, and it's been years since final drafts of anything were hand-written.

I share this history not to boast, but rather to establish that I appreciate technology, and although I am not a digital native, I like to think I earned my citizenship a long time ago. Even so, the recent push to automate everything and go as paperless as possible does not sit well with me. Does something really exist if you can't see it without a charged battery? I think not. I'm a little too analog for a totally virtual world.

That's why the latest writing assignment my students are doing, collaborative stories written in letter form, will ultimately be published in tiny chap books, one for each author, and a couple for the classroom library.

I've showed the students how to assemble them as they've finished their pieces, and the reaction has been remarkable. "You mean we can have it?" one girl asked me today, incredulously. And when I nodded, she hugged it to her chest. "That's so cool!"


  1. That is awesome. What a great response! Makes me think of the Ray Bradbury story about two kids who find a precious book.