When Mary Jo Munguia, a Jane Long Elementary School 3rd grade teacher and Interact II participant, sent a digital camera home with each of her students on the first day of school, I don’t think she fully anticipated the excitement that ensued or the effect it would have…

Who Are You?

The assignment was to take the camera home and define “who you are”. Pets, family members, bedrooms, toys, and silly faces soon filled the memory cards of each camera.

I wanted to give the students a chance to use the technology we have available at home as well as at school. The beginning of the year is great for this because students are excited to tell their new teacher and class about their families.

After students returned to school Mrs. Munguia helped her students insert their pictures and text onto Circle Thinking Maps using MS Word.  Because their teacher trusted them to take her cameras home, the end result was more than just another thinking map.

Who I am!

Who I am!

Not only did students learn to use a digital camera for this project, they manipulated text, inserted and resized photos, and created shapes to create their final Thinking Map.  Most importantly, they learned their teacher trusted them with a camera to use on their very own.  For many students, this was their first opportunity to use a digital camera by themselves.

The kids were excited.  They seemed proud to be trusted with the cameras.  At Open House, some of the parents and students asked about the project, which made me feel good.  I knew they were talking about it…

It made me feel proud to know that I had touched some of my students lives.  I loved seeing the kids’ pictures, and it was exciting to see their proud faces at open house.

For some teachers, loaning out $1,600 worth of digital cameras to a bunch of 3rd graders might be more than they could handle, but by allowing these kids to bring home those pieces of equipment, not only did Mrs. Munguia help these students bridge the digital divide, she was able to take a simple project and turn it into an edifying experience of self worth for her students.  This takes “bringing technology home” to a whole new level!