Apr 2010

No posters, please!!!

iCarly has changed our lives. My 10-year-old daughter spends every waking moment with her friends creating their own web show. They brainstorm skits, storyboard them out, gathers costumes and props, rehearses, videotapes and then edits them. She has taught herself to use iMovie and will spend hours messing around with various special effects and transitions.

For my sister's wedding, my daughter created a video in which she interviewed parents, siblings and the groom. The interviews were done in front of a green screen so she could edit in fun backgrounds and memorable photos. The song We Are Family played in the background at the beginning during the hilarious screen credits and then again at the end for the ending slideshow. She spent a lot of time creating this unique video shown at the reception.

When my son needed to learn his math facts faster than I ever learned them, he made a PowerPoint with a math fact on each slide. Besides the fun of using the computer instead of actual flashcards, he could control the pace. As he improved with his facts, he would increase the transition speed.

With media use so ubiquitous, it [is] time to stop arguing over whether it [is] good or bad and accept it as part of children’s environment like the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat. (Tamar Lewin, "If Your Kids are Awake, They're Probably Online" New York Times, Jan. 20, 2010.)

My kids are obviously not the only media savvy children. So why is it that both of them have been assigned to make posters this year? Posters? That was how my teachers tried to add some visual punch to reports. I understand the teacher not wanting to spend time teaching students how to make movies, but giving them options that would include technology (already available at the school) does not seem like a stretch to me. They use the computers for word processing and make use of resources such as Google Docs, but videos, slideshows and animation hasn't happened. I don't believe they are alone.

Schools and teachers need to accept that children are now techno-savvy and run with it.