Monday, January 19, 2015

LTW: #Skype in the #Gifted #Classroom


Skype in the Gifted Classroom
Educators of gifted students have struggled to find instructional methodologies that will fully engage their students with academic content. Technology and the Internet have allowed educators to use educational tools that work well with gifted students. Ian Warwick, senior director of London Gifted and Talented, found gifted students have a higher capability to learn on their own whenever they are given the resources where they have access to multiple bodies of knowledge (Jenkin, 2013). Social media sites, such as Skype, allow for students to proactively seek new knowledge through making connections with experts in a specific field of study that they are interested in.
The Perfect Learning Environment
Gifted students often learn information at a faster pace than their peers and have a wide variety of interests. These attributes often lead to behavioral problems at school because they either bored, scattered brained or both. Davis, Edmunds and Bateman (2008) found there is a decrease between the times someone learns something, is able to apply it to their lives and it becomes outdated information (pg.1). Gifted students’ ability to process information quickly and apply it to their lives is a benefit for their population while living in the 21st century. Divergent gifted thinkers also thrive in this world, as they are able to bring together two unrelated concepts, ideas or events to create a new pattern.
Using Skype to Prepare the Next Generation
Gifted students have always been independent thinkers. Their independent thinking and quick processing of information is not widely understood by educators, parents and their peers. Gifted students are drawn towards interacting with older students, adults and experts in any given field they have interest in. Skype allows for a gifted student to make connections and interact with experts. McCrae (2012) found students are exposed to environments and career paths they would never have had access to without Skype (pg. 18). Students are prepared for the world beyond graduation by exposing them to new ideas and places. The gifted student doesn’t have to worry about having too many interests. They are free to explore any area and talk to anyone around the world about their ideas.
Skype also prepares the gifted student for the future by granting them access to people they would have never have had the chance to meet. The student is able to create a network or friends, family and experts in who will connect them with other people they know. As the gifted student’s network increases their world grows smaller so they are exposed to new and exciting opportunities (Laureate Education).
Gifted students have the opportunity to explore their interests within the real world and still go to school. Robin (2009) found academic institutions around the world have traded classes with each other in order to provide academic content that is not available within their school (pg. 2). Some schools have operated virtually when weather does not permit students to attend classes in their building. An unhealthy child can still attend his or her classes via Skype. Some gifted students do better with virtual education than in a classroom. Utilizing Skype as an educational resource helps the gifted student to achieve academic success no matter the situation they are in.
Connecting With Their World
The world in which a gifted student lives is very different from normal society. Each gifted student is unique in his or her thought processes but they all tend to gravitate towards their intellectual peers. Technology has made it possible for anyone to connect with a gifted student. Siemens (2005) stated our brains are in a period of evolutionary change as it shapes the way we process information we receive and our thought process (pg.2). We are in a period of redefining how someone learns and process new information.
Gifted students are bombarded with so much information that they need to develop the skill of discerning what is important and what is trivial. New information is always be acquired. Gifted students using Skype are able to develop the necessary skills to discern which information is more important and apply.
References
Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved fromhttp://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism
Jenkin, M. (2013). Gifted and talented education: using technology to engage students. The Guardian.Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2013/feb/09/gifted-talented-students-education-technology
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Social learning. Baltimore, MD: Author.
McCrae, B. (2012). Skype Takes Students Where No School Bus Can Go. T H E Journal, 39 (5), 18
Robin, I. (2009). Schools Look to Skype for Sharing. Electronic Education Report, 16(6), 1-2

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