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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kristen Mattson

So today was kind of a big day…

…for my seven year old son, William.  Last week he wanted to know what I was doing on the computer. When I explained the concept of blogging, he immediately wanted to give it a try. We chatted for awhile about what he might want to write about, who his audience would be, and what he was hoping to get out of blogging. He agreed that there are not too many kids in our own community who are publishing, so they might not be his best audience. When I told him I connect with a lot of teachers through my blog, he wanted to write for them too.

William is in love with my iPad, but not in the way you might imagine. His favorite app? The app store. The boy loves to browse…and download…and browse again. He literally spends sixty seconds in an app before deciding if it is a good one or not and then quickly moves on to the next. I know he has found something good when he finally stops asking me for my iTunes password! So, William decided he would blog about some of his favorite apps – the ones that actually made it through his rapid fire test sessions and are still on my home screen today.

We opened up WordPress on the iPad and he started typing. It was slow. Very slow. I need to get him a typing app…but that is another story. After the text was complete, I taught him how to take screen captures using the iPad, and he quickly filled the camera roll with some of his favorite in-app scenes. I only had to demonstrate once how to upload the images into WordPress and he was an expert. Together, we linked the name of the app to the app store, proofread his work, and hit publish. William was an author!

The best parts of this story, though, came after the work was submitted. William immediately ran into the living room and asked my husband if he could see the app review from his iPad. Then, William got on the phone with my mom, “Nana. Can you see my blog from your house? On your computer? Yep. I wrote that…. a blog is like a diary for the whole world to see, Nana.” William had discovered the joy of writing for an authentic audience – one that could see, appreciate, and comment on his work from anywhere. Talk about powerful! But wait…it gets better!

The next morning I got up and checked the stats on his blog – 79 views overnight! Not too shabby for a first timer. He had been retweeted several times and comments came in thanking him for his review and telling him to keep up the good work. I thanked an Illinois principal for a retweet and the response was, “Hey, us bloggers have to stick together! That, and he’s spot on with his review!” When I shared those words with William, he wanted to write a second post right away.

Today, though, was kind of the big day. I jumped on Twitter after school and saw this:


Imagine the look on William’s face when I told him that the people who had MADE THE APP saw his review and thanked him for it. I am not sure his smile could have gotten any wider. Of course, he had to call Nana again and tell her the good news 🙂 

It is so important to me that our schools start to embrace the power of connected education. Learning “online” is so much more than purchasing a pre-packaged curriculum through a company and claiming that we are teaching kids to be 21st century learners. Days like today encourage me to keep advocating for technology tools in the hands of every student, proper training and support for our teachers as they learn to integrate those tools, and policies that support, rather than restrict true collaboration, communication, and creativity.

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