#edtech #edchat #elearning I vividly remember the first time I saw an unbelievable tech project from a student. It was the spring of 2007 and I was searching the Internet about this new thing called podcasting. I came across a website that had a middle school principal who had made a few podcasts. His name was Dr. Tim Tyson and at the time he was the principal of the Mabry Middle School in Marietta, GA My research into podcasting continued as I found his school website (he still keeps it archived at www.MabryOnline.org) and I was amazed to see how much this principal was podcasting. But that was not the unbelievable part.
What happened next changed me as a teacher for the rest of my life.
While on the Mabry website I saw a link for the 2007 film festival. I clicked the link and soon I was watching the film work the middle school students had done. I was blown-away, I had never seen this type of quality work from college students, let alone middle schoolers.
Within days I was on the phone to Dr. Tyson asking him all sorts of questions, but the biggest one was that I wanted to know who made those movies. He told me that the students had and I told him I didn’t believe him. He laughed and explained to me that he gets that a lot. He assured me that they had a high expectation when it comes to the tech projects that the students make at his middle school. At Mabry they do not allow there students to do sloppy film work. Instead, they needed to follow a quality rubric with areas like sound, lighting, etc. He went on to explain that most teachers allow students to do poor work when it comes to tech projects because they don’t know what to look for, after all they are teachers not filmmakers. But you don’t need to go to film school to know what makes a good video. A student should not be allowed to turn in a video that looks like it was shot during an earthquake and has such poor lighting and sound that you cannot see or hear what is going on.
It was like he flipped a switch inside of me. I had no idea that young students were capable of such great work. Here I was an elementary tech teacher and I knew what I wanted my students to do; I wanted them to make such incredible tech projects that people would be calling me someday and asking me who really made them.
I wanted people to say “There is no way a third grader took that photo.” or “How many grown-ups help make that movie about the civil war?”
What I wanted was unbelievable tech projects from elementary students. I wanted to push my students to do great work with technology, not just mediocre work. I wanted them to do projects that they could put in there digital portfolios and say with pride years later, “Yeah, I made this movie when I was in elementary school, pretty cool, huh?”
So here I am, four years later, still burning with the same passion that was ignited inside of me back in 2007, working on unbelievable tech projects for elementary students. Check out their latest work at www.BethkeElementary.com and look for KBOB Studios.