As I have been looking for people who are working to roll out Google Apps for Education in their schools, I wasn’t really thinking that I would find a student so engaged in the process. But, I think this may qualify as the best Senior project I have ever seen.
I can’t get over just how cool a student creating a blog to chronicle the progress of rolling out Google Apps is. This particular student clearly wants both teachers and students to be using it to its greatest potential. I think my favorite quote from his blog so far is as follows:
Two of the students I was working with were techno-phobic a the beginning of our sessions last fall. They consistently told me that they didn’t like computers, and were the first ones to simply give up when they didn’t get it the first time around.
The first one, most recently, made the same comment to me – “I don’t like computers” – and I simply asked him if he liked cars. Of course, he said yes, and I asked him what you do to a car when it breaks or isn’t working right – he said that you simply fixed it (in a matter-of-fact tone). So I then asked him what you should do when a computer breaks – the thought about it for a minute, and said, “fix it I guess.” After that, he never told me he hated using the computers – and later in the week last week was the only one who actually followed along with my instructions and was getting everything right the first time – he even started to help other students if they had a question about the sites we were working with.
The second one kept iterating to me that he hated computers and that they never worked for him – I kept insisting that computers were pretty cool things when you think about all of the things you can do with them. Then, when I was talking about how global data on the internet really was – he paid extremely close attention. Now, this student really had very rudimentary typing skills (from lack of exposure to computers as opposed to lack of potential or ability) and therefore got relay frustrated, and usually had his partner do the typing for their online labs – last week, he actually took the computer from his partner and was insisting on typing everything himself.
This is a teacher in the making. He said that he realized that he was having the time of his life talking to teachers about how to use Google Apps. If you would like to encourage him a little bit (or ask him questions) , he put his email on the front page, but here it is for easy access: rminnick(at)brvgsk12.va.us.
I would also like to highlight some of his handywork. This is a great presentation, and I can’t wait to ask him what he left out of the online version (he said that he took out some activities because he wants to keep them as trade secrets).
With students like this, why is it that so many schools do not recognize their contributions or honor the ways that they can add to the learning environment. What if we asked all of our seniors to create a site like this to chronicle their passion? What if we had a huge repository of all of their creative endeavors?
And what if we didn’t just ask this of them in Senior year, but every year of their education?