Tie And Jeans

Laying Pipe with Purpose

My time today is structured around mandatory events, mainly middle school exams (don’t get me started) and a “rollout” presentation to rising 7th graders who will take their laptops home for the first time this summer.  These sorts of presentations are pretty frequent, and I’ve got a whole library of Keynote slides covering our helpdesk system, how to get AppleCare service, reminders to read their school email over the summer and listen to their parents.  When I see events like this on my calendar, there’s a bit of an internal shudder.  I hate speaking to kids in large groups just to check off the box that says that ” “students were informed about X.”

Then I go digging through those old Keynotes and I’m shocked at what I find.  I remember the info slides, but for some reason I forget the Gardner Campbell / Indiana Jones/ My Little Pony / Butch Cassidy clip montage.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/43038611]

I remember cringing through admonitions that  “your laptop is not really your laptop,” but I forget that I tuck manifestos like this into the slide notes:

You have more capabilities, more opportunities, sitting at your desk at home or in study hall, than any generation of students before you.  You can do amazing things, not because an adult told you to, but because you wanted to.   The reason you have those laptops is not to produce beautifully typed papers, or precision cut collections of Google images and Wikipedia quotes.  They’re there to serve as a bridge between the (hopefully) boundless seas of your imagination, your passions and interests, back to these classrooms and hallways.

We need to see those early works, those experiments, ideas and inspirations.

We, as adults, need to be reminded of what you can dream of, and of what you can accomplish.

We need your help, everyday, to remind us of what’s different about the world you’re growing and learning in and the one we remember.

We need your help, so that we can work together, teachers and students, and find ways to explore and learn together.

Thank you, circular universe.  Thank you for reminding me that although I struggle with many bits of schooliness in this job, but I’ve been able to carve out a small humane space in my distinct voice.


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