Bitstrips for SchoolsIn the tiny mountain town where the SpaceRacers temporarily reside, it’s easy to get things done. It’s easy to get from one end of town to another. It’s easy to buy groceries without waiting in line for 45 minutes. It’s easy to get an appointment at the bank. It’s easy to find a decent, honest mechanic.  And it’s easy to make a difference.

We were concerned that our wee SpaceRacer wasn’t getting enough access to technology in school. In fact, she’s getting none. The transition to 21st Century Learning is happening v-e-r-y slooooooowwwwly in most places in Canadian schools, and she’s been unlucky thus far to have teachers who’ve been mostly uninterested, unmotivated, and unaware of the potential for digital tools in the classroom. But before I rant on (because this really riles me up), I’d like to share a sliver of silver lining.

Upon expressing my frustrations to the school principal, we devised a plan to incorporate a little technology into the lives of the digitally deprived students.  A weekly one hour session with a new educational technology tool. Project focused, and related to something happening within the school community. And it was as easy as being able to give up an hour of my time (with a few to prep, of course). Within a day or 2 of proposing the idea, the principal had forwarded me a list of 41 keen kiddies. 41!  She’d made arrangements for us to meet in the library, in order to use the school’s smartboards and laptops for the activity. No red tape. No cumbersome permission forms:  if you’re interested, just come and learn.

Today is the first day of SpaceRace Technology Club, and I am so very excited to facilitate a Bitstrips project with 41 Grade 3 and 4 students.  If you haven’t heard of it, Bitstrips is an online comic strip creator.  The educational arm of the service, Bitstrips for Schools, is a teaching tool that “engages students using a medium they love – Comics!”  It’s 100% web-based, and includes tons of curriculum-connected activities designed by a huge network of educators. It’s fun and social – a great way to get students working collaboratively to share stories using technology. Our topic is “Kindness”, and I can hardly wait to see the madness that ensues.

I’m very excited about today. It’s the start of something really cool – I can just feel it!