Jose would be arriving in my class in three weeks, I was told. His family was migrating from Venezuela to Thunder Bay. He’d be attending St. Elizabeth School. In my class. He couldn’t speak English. Not a word. Gulp. How could I help? What would I do? How could I make a difference for Jose?
We had access to iPads. I researched translator apps and found “Translator Pro“. My kids learned to speak Spanish. When Jose arrived on his first day at St.Elizabeth school he looked sad, nervous and scared. So did his mom and dad. I approached his family and said, “Welcome Jose, you are going to love your new school and classmates. We are happy to have you in our class!” Blank stares. From behind my back I produced the iPad. I had Jose push a magical button and the iPad translated my greeting into Spanish and spoke, “Bienvenido Jose, vas a amar a tu nueva escuela y compañeros de clase. Estamos felices de tenerte en nuestra class!” A huge smile lit up Jose’s face. His dad shook my hand. His mom cried. Tears of joy.
We walked to our class. My students greeted and conversed with our new friend in Spanish. Jose excelled. He learned a thousand English words by the end of the school year. He was conversing with his classmates in English and was teaching them more Spanish. He taught his peers incredible soccer moves and became our track star. Jose was happy.
Teachers have so many incredible tools at their finger tips to help make a difference for their students. In turn by modelling creative, thoughtful, innovative use of technology we are demonstrating to our children how they can make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others.
Innovating is looking beyond “what is” and asking “what could be?” In early April I’ll be presenting a Keynote titled “We are ALL Difference Makers” where I’ll be sharing many different examples of how I’ve innovated to make a difference for myself, as a teacher, my students, my community and even the world. I’m hoping that many teachers will help contribute to my keynote by sharing one example of how they’ve innovated to make a difference. **Please note, an innovative idea might have nothing to do with using technology. By sharing our innovative ideas we will collectively make a difference for our global community of learners. If you are willing to contribute please take a moment to fill in this Google form: We are ALL Difference Makers.
Thank YOU for making a difference!