Email from Master Teach Kathy Jacoby

Over the years I have seen a shift in education from teaching specific skills to applying skills and truly understanding ideas. Within this overall shift, there has been a greater understanding of how early education shapes not only the student, but our country’s future. I have taught many levels within the educational system, but have never found another place where what teachers do is so completely critical. Early education not only teaches skills, it teaches perseverance, creativity, self-esteem, confidence, and independence. Without early education, student success is an uphill battle, which is usually lost.

I used technology before I started with Footsteps2Brilliance, but I didn’t understand how I could interweave it into all aspects of my day. First off, we have all been re-wired. We used to be engaged by a single point of input, but now we are used to a contribution of multiple senses to create our reality. There is no right or wrong to this fact, it’s just the world we live in. Tech allows us to engage students in a way we couldn’t before. I believe education is the one profession left which has not yet embraced this fact. I am still working on the why, but we wouldn’t go to a doctor who was still using 19th century technology.

Why are teachers still using stagnant materials, showing students one picture on a page with a sentence when we can learn to create a search question with multiple resources, thousands of images, and videos? When I have a page “This is the desert”, we google what is a desert, we look at the images, we watch videos and documentaries, we list and write about what we learn, we use google earth to go exploring deserts around the world, we compare and contrast, we try to understand the breaking down of soil and rocks to create sand, we go out and create sand, we find experts to watch and talk to, we have discussions and share ideas. The students learn the content, but most of all, they learn the skills needed to initiate their own learning and be in control of their own success. Why would I limit my students to one sentence with a picture, when I can expose them to a plethora of experiences using technology? Why teach them information when I can connect them to it? It often takes us a day to do one page in a Footsteps2brillance book and most books take weeks to work through, but it is so worth it. Students are thriving. They are engaged in their learning and learning to read at a much faster rate. This is because skills are intertwined and revelant, and they are interested and engaged. They are thinking interactive little people and no longer “my pupils”. I can never go back to older methods of teaching after seeing where the technology road has led me.

Kathy Jacoby, Snowline Schools