Recently while reading a back issue of the New Yorker, I came across a piece titled, “FOOD FIGHTER: Does Whole Foods’ C.E.O. know what is best for you?” While learning about the eccentric and seemingly contradictory nature and political views of the CEO of my favorite grocery chain, one paragraph forced me to pause and fold down the corner of page 40:
In high school, Mackey was an indifferent student, a late bloomer, puberty-wise, and a fanatic about basketball, science fiction, and girls. Before his senior year, he was cut from the varsity basketball team, and he persuaded his parents to move so that he could switch schools and play. “That changed my life, because for the first time I realized that if you didn’t like the hand you were dealt you didn’t just have to feel sorry for yourself. You could do something about it.”
You could do something about it! You could do something about it!! YOU COULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!! Or, as my father used to tell me in college, “Anna—think multiple paths. If you can’t achieve your goal one way, be prepared to try a dozen others”.
Beyond teaching skills and content, perhaps the best gifts we can give students (both children and adults) are hope, faith in their own abilities and a “can do” attitude.
Digital technologies offer so much promise when it comes to helping students pursue their passions and the multiple paths to their goals… Aspiring writers no longer have to “wait” for an agent to get noticed, but can use sites like Storybird, Scribd and LuLu to spread their words. Future diplomats can connect with children around the world using sites like Panwapa and ePals. Language lovers can learn second and third languages with LiveMocha and italki. So many apps and endless learning possibilities!
How are you using digital technologies to empower your students to pursue their learning passions?