(by Donna McAvoy, Immokalee teacher, from newsletter)

Last summer I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Waveplace Program in Immokalee. I was so impressed with the experience on many levels, most especially with the passion of organizers, trainers, investors, teachers, volunteers, and students. It soon became apparent to all of us that something very special was going on. On the last day of the program, I was sitting next to a smiling gentleman who whispered, “God is pleased.”

As a result, I was inspired to implement the Waveplace course with my 5th and 6th grade technology students during the regular school year. Each session, after learning a new feature of Etoys, they are presented with a “starfish challenge” and never cease to amaze me with the quality of work they produce.

Etoys requires my students to use logic, higher level thinking, and problem solving, as they work on projects that are personally meaningful to them. As a result, the classes are truly experiences in constructionism. At times the kids are so actively engaged in their work that one can hear a pin drop. Later the some of the kids might put their heads together and converse in small groups, while others walk around the room to see what their peers are doing. Other times, thirty students can be sitting on individual computers around the perimeter of the room with their backs turned, engaged in one conversation, as we work to solve a problem someone has encountered.

I also provide time for them to explore Etoys features on their own. One day last week one of the students said, “No offense Miss, but aren’t you supposed to know, you’re the teacher?” I went on to explain the concept of “educational evolution” (which is my greatest ambition) … the point where my students become more knowledgeable than me.

I am so grateful to Etoys and Waveplace for making such a valuable learning tool available for my students and for the providing me with the opportunity to experience the joy of educational evolution.

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