Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Third grade tech problem solvers

Today I had a serious problem with network connectivity in my classroom - I think the network folk were working on stuff. We couldn't get to our local network consistently (e.g, no printing or saving). I watched one of my third graders solve a problem in a way that just made me shake my head in wonder.

She was typing in Word - wanted to print, but could not - and could not save to her network folder. But she had Internet access. There was only one computer in the room that had access to our printer at that time. She turned to me and said, "Couldn't I just copy and paste this to my blog - like not ask for it to be published or anything? Just save it there.... and then I could go to that other computer that can print, log on to my blog, open that saved article, copy and paste my writing from my blog article into Word - and then print? Like, would that work?"

Like, my goodness. What comes so naturally to our nine year olds these days. Of course it worked. She was pleased - got her important writing printed out. Interesting to note that she didn't even consider using a floppy disk (ancient history, there - even though we have a Mavica that uses floppies).

Understanding how systems work. Not exactly the lesson plan goal (heck, this was during recess anyway) - but when I think how far that understanding will carry her and her classmates in the future, that's when I know I'm on the right track with my kids.


Cathy Jo Nelson said...

Love the story. It sounds like a brainstorm my sons have had. Son #1 doesn't have a printer in his room. But my husband's 'puter does. So he emails it to him self--the finished word doc, and then goes to Dad's computer, checks his own email there, and finally downloads and prints out the doc. My boys both have functioned like this for four years. They laughed when we said we were thinking of adding the printer to the wireless network at home.

Jim Gates said...

I've been sharing this story ever since you posted it back in '06. I always say that two things impress me about it. First, the idea of casting her data into "the cloud" for temporary storage came so naturally to her. Second, however, is how she re-purposed a tool to do it. She knew she had text and needed a place to hold some text. Blogs aren't meant for storage, but they are meant for text. Beautiful!

Anyway, I just wanted you to know how far this story has gone - and continues to go.

Mark Ahlness said...

Thanks for the comment, Jim. Means a lot, given the dark time for teachers these days.

That story happened with my first classroom of 3rd grade bloggers. The student will be going into 8th grade this year. I hope and pray she continues to have opportunities to stretch those creative problem solving muscles. If she does, she'll go far. Best - Mark