Serendipity – the act of finding something fortunate while looking for something else.
My Second Life guide, Kevin Jarrett, sent a link to his Second Life blog and I wound up on his real life home page. Kevin is the K-4 Computer Teacher/Technology Facilitator at Northfield Community School in New Jersey, and like me, a happy immigrant to education from the corporate world.
His site included this fascinating page: The Northfield Community School Grade 4 Computer Repair & Service Club
The Northfield Community School Grade 4 Computer Repair and Service Club is dedicated to refurbishing discarded computers and donating them to local families who don’t presently own one. This is our third year and it’s going to be our best! Our club is made possible by generous support from the Northfield Education Foundation. Teams of students attend meetings over two months and then present the refurbished computers to new owners on “Delivery Night.” It’s fun for everyone and a great service to the community too!
Did everyone get this? GRADE 4 – yes, nine and ten year-olds. Did someone forget to tell these kids that fixing computers is hard? Did someone forget to tell Kevin that nine-year-olds actually need extensive computer literacy lessons so they can answer multiple choice questions about what CPU stands for? Opps! Too late – they are doing real work, finding out for themselves that broken things can be fixed, and making a lasting contribution to their community. Hey, is that on the test?
There is no doubt that this experience will change lives, either by these students having a powerful experience of mastery, or by providing families with computers that connect them to 21st century opportunities.
We hear all the time that even high school students aren’t capable of fixing computers, that students can’t create projects that show technology literacy, that they are not responsible enough or trustworthy enough, or that they will “cause more trouble than it’s worth”–and it’s simply not true. A caring adult with a purposeful vision who lets kids shine beats “can’t do it” every time.
Go for it, kids!
PS If you are an educator interested in Second Life, Kevin has just announced SLolar Central (SLolar = Second Life Scholar), a facility providing free temporary office space (and other resources) for K-20 educators and school administrators exploring Second Life. It’s a great opportunity to learn the virtual SL ropes in a community with other like-minded educators and some terrific guides! For more details and signups, see Kevin’s blog.