Even the Normal Ones Need More

In just an hour or so, I’m going to sit on a stage with a group of students from grades 3 to 12 plus and talk to them about their lives and their use of technology. The audience will be made up of teachers and I’m hoping to foster a dialog that may extend beyond our short time together.

I met with the group yesterday just to give them an overview of how it was going to work. What an interesting bunch! It includes one fourth grade girl who doesn’t really interact with technology at all outside of school. It isn’t about access; it’s about interest. “I’m more about being outside,” she said.

A reminder that, despite our desire to categorize and catalog, human beings are exciting in their uniqueness and despite being born as a digital native, not every 10 year old loves technology.

I was reminded of this incredibly important ideas again as I read this excellent essay about the “extranormative” student in today’s NCTE blog post. While these authors focus on students seemingly outside the mainstream, they end with a call to recognize the humanity of ALL students, including the seemingly normal ones who can easily get lost as they don’t come with any special labels:

Smagorinsky and Robinson agree in allowing students more freedom. By giving students the ability to highlight their strengths and differences, no matter through what lens they view the world, teachers engage the most recalcitrant and nourish their creativity and thought, particularly in written expression.

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