My elementary computer science teachers left an undeniable impact on my enthusiasm for tech—even though I don't remember having ONE conversation with them.
I'm sure they came over to my computer station every now and then to help me troubleshoot. But as quickly as they solved the issue, they'd leave me, having the time of my life with a keyboard, mouse, and screen.
If I could talk to my computer science teachers today, here's what I'd tell them.
Your job felt so mysterious
I didn't have computer science classes on a daily basis like language arts or math.
Seeing my CS teachers less made their role at the school, and in my learning, more interesting.
Going into the lab was a treat. And after spending a limited amount of time there, the environment and my teachers vanished would the next week.
You always made sure I was thinking creatively and with games
Some standout activities from our classes:
Typing on Mavis Beacon and looking to beat my speed records
Watching videos and taking comprehension quizzes on BrainPOP
My teachers also gave me the freedom to use apps in creative ways. Ones that felt less about having a right or wrong, and more about exploring and troubleshooting:
Kid Pix. All of it
A photo-taking app to make custom comic strips out of my selfies (the name is escaping me)
The tech you introduced me to felt next-level—for our time!
Getting a TedTalk recommendation doesn't feel groundbreaking today.
The company wasn't technically new in the late 00s and early 10s either. TED Conferences was founded in 1984. However, the first TED Talks were posted online in 2006.
My teacher cued up the first video I ever saw. They projected it onto a Smartboard
My CS teachers taught our lessons using Smartboards. I remember sitting on the floor in front of the projector, watching different strokes of red, blue, green, and black dance around.
This was another brand that wasn't hot off the presses during my time in school, but has definitely grown into more of a household name today.
You created such an exciting learning environment
I can vividly picture my elementary school computer lab.
Each computer class was a free field trip from the regular classroom to a spacious center with dimmable lights.
I got 1:1 time on the computer.
And the rows of computers made me feel like I was part of something different. Something BIG.
With a great physical space and learning tools, I was locked in.
The tech you taught me were building blocks for so much more
I can't tell you how many TED Talks I've watched since my CS teacher cued up my very first one in 2010.
Other tech knowledge that sounds trivial as an adult, were the building blocks to the more advanced skills I have now, including:
Strategies for making strong passwords
A jingle about dragging items to the desktop to save files
Having patience and learning how to troubleshoot
To my elementary computer science teachers: THANK YOU.
Now: Channel your edtech kid to create an experience
My computer science teachers taught me more than tips and tricks. They gave me an experience.
The physical environment of the computer lab. The fun learning exercises. The takeaways.
Think about someone who created a similar experience for you as a kid. One that was filled with nuggets of wonder and excitement at every turn.
Now, how can you create this for someone else...in your job?