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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Never Underestimate the Knowledge of Kids

Back when it came time for me to apply and choose a college, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go far from home. While most of my friends were eager to spread their wings and finally take the opportunity to get out of the suburbs of Kansas City, I had three little things weighing on my decision.

Those three little things are named Joe, Jimmy, and Johnny—my three little brothers. My parents did things a bit differently than the average American family and when my two older brothers and I left the nest, they decided to have more kids. The day Joe was born, I went from the former baby of the family to older sister, ‘built-in-babysitter’, and in a lot of ways—a second mom. Two years after Joe was born came Jimmy, and two years after Jimmy came Johnny. To say that those three little boys are my whole world would be an understatement- I absolutely adore them.

So when it came time for me to leave for college—KU was a perfect fit. It was far enough away for me to have my own life, but close enough to come home on Sunday afternoons for dinner, to do laundry, and most importantly, to see my little brothers. When I moved to Lawrence for my first semester of college, the transition went surprisingly smoothly. The little ones readjusted to my new presence in their life, and I fit right in to my new college life.

But something changed when I went back home for a month over the holidays one year. Johnny (the baby) was finally old enough to fully understand things. It was almost as if he rediscovered who I was for that month that I was home—and when it came time for me to leave, he was absolutely beside himself. The day before I left, he was my little shadow. Whether I was packing my clothes or running last minute errands, he didn’t leave my side. By 8 that night, my mom finally broke the news that it was bedtime—and the flood gates opened. As I held my crying 4 year-old brother in my arms, I tried to explain that I would come back home to see him soon. But in his innocent mind all he could focus on was goodbye.

As hard as it was to leave him, I had to continue my own life. But one thing eased the pain of my absence for Johnny—Skype. Johnny recently had his first Skype experience. As I sat talking with him, it blew my mind that at the age of 4 he could actually see his sister and talk to her over a computer. When I was 4 I didn’t even know what a computer was. Jimmy, my six year old brother, is able to take my blackberry, find the games, and use my touch screen to beat MY high score. Joe, the 8 year old, can get on a computer by himself, type in his school’s website, and check what is for lunch. Pretty amazing, huh?

Watching how technologically advanced kids are at such young ages makes it almost a no-brainer to use technology in the classroom. Not only do times change, they change fast. Technology is what today’s kids have grown up around-- it’s an area they are comfortable with, and it’s most definitely not going anywhere. We need to make sure that America’s classrooms are not only keeping up with the current times, but that they are catering to the way children learn best. We shouldn’t underestimate how ready and prepared children are to use technology in the classroom.

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Blogger Katie Brosious said...

Kids amaze me every day. They are so quick to pick up on new things and understand some technology better than most adults. I've seen a lot of teachers using Skype in their classrooms lately - especially to connect with classrooms across the country or even internationally, or to interview the author of a book they just finished. Pretty cool how far we've come.

2/2/11, 2:48 PM  

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