Digital Learning Day Every Day. They spoke about #DLD2012 needed to be more than a 1 day event. It was meant to be a day of awareness for continuing to explore Digital Learning opportunities. The day after Digital Learning Day I had a teacher visit me to discuss a possible Skype use at our school.
The week after Digital Learning Day I had a wonderful opportunity to participate and provide technical support to a project at school. A teacher approached me regarding connecting to their father via Skype. Their father had served in the military and had been friends with several Tuskegee Airmen. He discussed his life in the military post-desegregation. And he relayed stories of friends who had to deal with the issues of life pre-desegregation. What an eye opener for our students! He challenged them to put themselves in the place of the Tuskegee Airmen.
To imagine what it must have been like to be hailed as amazingly efficient in one breath (previously 25 or so soldiers were being lost per mission. Under the protection of the Tuskegee Airmen all soldiers were returning from a mission). And then treated as second class citizens and not allowed to eat in the same mess hall as their colleagues they just protected because their skin-tone was different. Students were on the edge of their seats listening to this man’s experiences.
During our Skype session we had a few technical difficulties. The same day there was a popular NY event going on simultaneously. Bandwidth was not able to allow both activities. Unfortunately, the Skype connection was the loser in the bandwidth war.
There is a saying, “Out of the mouths of babes.” A child piped up with “Can’t we just call him?” This lit the proverbial lightbulb over my head. I suggested to the teacher that if we plugged my speakers from my laptop into their cellphone we would be able to hear with increased speaker phone capabilities. Cell phone to Landline provided a much cleaner connection to listen to this fascinating gentleman.
The classroom is equipped with an assistive technology device that amplifies sound for a child that needs this modification. Yet another child had the bright idea to add the receiver for this device by my speakers. Suddenly his wise words were broadcast twice as loudly throughout the room. I love their ingenuity!
Overall this assignment wound up being simply magical. Sometimes in our quest to explore Digital Learning we forget the simplicity of a wonderful conversation. I marvel at how lower tech solutions saved the day. I believe this provided an experience that both expanded our students’ knowledge and was a day they will never forget.
The teacher had been using several resources including Discovery Education materials to bring meaning to students regarding the Tuskegee Airmen. But this man’s genuine, heart-felt experiences will have created real meaning on the hearts of our students.