Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
I flew into El Salvador yesterday to spend the Christmas holiday’s with my son Adam and my girlfriend Regina Canas. My son Adam invited me to visit his class and take some photographs of the students and him teaching for a presentation he is giving later in the week.
As a teacher I must admit it warmed my heart and made me incredibly proud to watch Adam in front of his class teaching his students how to create books about their lives and personal experiences using iPads. There’s no doubt Adam and the staff at ConTextos are truly making a difference here in El Salvador and adding to the quality of these young people’s lives. You can see the joy of learning it in their faces.
Every student in his class was totally focused and engrossed in their book project. Adam said, “I don’t teach them IPad, I teach them how to read and write with a new tool which happens to be an IPad.” He told me his students learned the devise very quickly, and in fact have taught him a great deal about the iPad’s various applications and capabilities as they problem solved their book projects.
According to the ConTextos web site…..
“ConTextos develops critical thinking and literacy skills in students at rural schools in El Salvador. ConTextos provides high-quality learning materials and facilitates intensive, classroom-based teacher training to promote effective instruction of primary grade reading by integrating materials effectively via differentiated education and on-going assessment. ConTextos also provides on-going workshops for parents so they can learn how to effectively use books at home, creating a culture of literacy within the family.”
I’ve been a educator for 30 years and Adam’s Grandfather was also a teacher so it looks like he is keeping the tradition of teaching alive in our family. You can learn more about this unique and viable organization by visiting the ConTextos blog. There is also a place you can make a donation as well.
Adam originally came to El Salvador as a Peace Corp volunteer four years ago and after his tenure with the Peace Corp was up he decided to stay in Central America and continue working with the beautiful people of El Salvador. He is very excited about working for ConTextos and the possibilities of incorporating technology into his reading and writing classes. Technology can be a very powerful and viable tool for teaching if its integrated into the curriculum thoughtfully.
There’s no doubt Adam and ConTextos have tapped into a teaching strategy that engages the students and gets them excited about reading, writing and exploring their creativity. Adam hopes to make the students digital books available both in print form and online in the near future. This is a “pilot project” and Adam will now take what he learned from teaching these first 2 groups and apply it to his new classes in January. He hopes to get some digital cameras to check out to the students so they can document their lives and incorporate the pictures into their book projects.
Yup!! I’m a proud Dad!
Here are more photos that I took while visiting Adam’s classes.