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Excitable Learning is Contagious

News Online / in Paper
News Online / in Paper by cogdogblog
posted 10 Dec ’08, 7.19pm MST PST on flickr

One student in Brian Crosby’s 6th grade class was eager to show me the web version of the story of that class featured in the local Reno newspaper.

About two weeks ago I got to Skype video chat from Iceland with Brian Crosby’s 6th grade students in Reno; and, as luck had it, I had a visit December 10 with his school district. So I made it in the plans to visit the kids at Agnes Risley Elementary School.

Talk about excited motivated students! I’ve not seen such eagerness on a classroom since… I forget, and we are in a rather antiquated school in what I guess is a poorer neighborhood. All f the students were set to go on a variety of Apple laptops (and not MacBookPros, I saw old iBooks, old Powerbooks) to write notes in responses to questions they asked. They were eager to get some of the icelandic coins I brought (most in demand the 1 Kroner coin with a shark on it, value about 0.6 cents).

But what really knocked my socks off was how deft they were at googling for information. As I talked about my experience of seeing the Northern Lights, they were, in minutes finding their own images, some of them making it their desktop pattern. Others were image searching animals I mentioned, my name (“is that you?”).

Kudos for Brian for instilling such curiosity. They had recently been featured in a newspaper story on “Students Get Blogging” (side note- finding that story on the newspaper’s web start wa snot possible without going back to Google):

From their classroom in Sparks, students in Brian Crosby’s sixth-grade class at Agnes Risley Elementary School can communicate virtually with students their age in places such as Florida, Washington, Canada and Thailand.

Each of Crosby’s 26 students writes his or her own blog (short for Web log), which is an online personal journal. Readers can post reactions and comments about the blog writer’s reflections.

I thought it was fitting in this picture as one of Brian’s students shows me the newspaper story online that was the same as the paper one posted on the bulletin board. I am betting these kids will have children who will bust out laughing at the thought of news printed on flimsy paper.

But what I walk away with is– what the heck happens to this level of enthusiasm in kids? Do we school it out of them? How do we tap back into that? It is not just the technology, but we manage to squash the spirit by the time they entire college, they are subdued to doing “what is on the test” while likely, on their own, creating/doing what really matters to them.

Do yourself a favor if you are feeling un-inspired; get to your local school and help your teachers.

And Brian is just an amazing leader for building this kind of excitement for learning.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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