Transformation is Not About Technology but About Being Able to Tell A Story

This post started out as a Facebook post and morphed into something a little bigger as I was pecking away in my car before heading to a workshop this morning.

I got home last night from our Ignite Dinner Series Event that was being hosted by our Superintendent in Surrey Jordan Tinney and our district’s critical friend George Couros.  I was greeted by my 5 year-old who excitedly mentioned to me that I got home just in time for Story time. It was wonderful to hear the joy in his voice as we took turns reading the pages in his chosen book.  After his story I thought we were going to do our usual hug, kiss, goodnight routine when he asks,

“Can I sing a song to you about earth day?” He starts to sing, & gets nervous and is stumbling over the words.  He then asks, Can I have your camera to film me singing, so you ca see me sing it. He said, “remember just like I did with Grandma.”

I remember that day like yesterday. He was excited to read for Grandma but then he got nervous right at that moment when it was time to read. It was obvious that having multiple people watching him read to his Grandma made him anxious.

Understanding that I knew he would like to still share his reading with his Grandma I asked him if he would like to make a movie of himself reading in his room and then bring it down for her to watch in the living room. He was over the moon with excitement at this possibility.  He ran upstairs and I followed behind.  I could hear him saying, “I know where we can set up the camera to show me reading.”  I helped him set up the camera and was excited to see him in action as he filmed himself reading.  Two seconds later he asked me to leave too.  I guess he is getting an early start on his directing career.  Afterwards he wanted to write on his video and put applause in like Daddy’s student did in his video… so we did.  Here is his video of him reading to his Grandma:



He did this again last night only this time he sang this beauty after he again asked me to leave the room.  He ran over to our room when he was done, so he could excitedly share.  I gave him a little feedback that I loved how he moved to the music in that song, but I was having difficulty hearing him.  He ran back to his room, set up the camera and came back with the clip below you.  Happy Earth Day!



Happy Earth Day everybody!

Thinking back to my school days had I been faced with the same challenge my son faced I don’t know what I would have done.  I definitely didn’t have that strategy in my tool box when I was 5.  I probably wouldn’t have read and my Grandma might not have been able to experience the excitement and pride in my voice as I read to her.

I have learned through my kids and from voices like George Couros that technology can be transformational in the ways we tell stories and how learning can be shown in a multitude of ways.  If it is all about the technology then we lose out on the stories because students/teachers/parents feel intimidated that they may not know enough.  They will shut down and the conversation amongst stakeholders is over.  If it is just about the stories without technology then that story may become lost without any opportunity for others to learn from it.

I was reminded again today by George about the powerful words of Steven Johnson, “Chance Favours the Connected Learner”.  Technology has the power to connect us to ideas that are not technology focussed.  We are all tinkering with things and that little tidbit one person shares can/might have a profound impact on their learning and their life.  Technology has the power to connect our ideas, improve our practice, and show people that they do know how to sing the song “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”.

It is always & should always be about the empowering learning & telling the stories that celebrate the learning in our classrooms and providing opportunities for our learners to make choices in their learning, so they feel success.

Hugh McDonald


This entry was posted in Differentiated Instruction, Education, Personal Growth, Student Work, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Transformation is Not About Technology but About Being Able to Tell A Story

  1. Pingback: Transformation is Not About Technology but Abou...

  2. Wow. I love this post. Kids continuously amaze me with how they use technology. This post demonstrates technology’s ability to excite and engage students in new ways with traditional material. Golden post!

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