Natalie has a deep appreciation of the way different children learn and of the shortcomings of many of the traditional ways children are taught. She assembled an excellent staff, and our main goal was to use the computer to have students spend time away from the computer making, building, and creating things.
Here is Natalie's website: www.natalierusk.com
I met Mike Petrich and Karen Wilkinson, who became huge influences on how I teach and how I approach technology. I remember Mike saying, "Something going wrong provides an excellent opportunity to learn how a computer works." And I remember helping Karen teach "How to Make your Own Candy Bar" where we researched candy bars, looked at cross sections of different ones, and created and named our own concoctions.
Mike and Karen now work at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and this website (PIE Play, Invent, Explore) gives an example of the excellent work they do:
One of the most important things I learned from Natalie, Mike, and Karen was to be open to technology. Natalie pointed out that technology is anything invented after we are born, and I realized the choice involved in how to approach it.
I'm still not an early adapter of devices or programs, but I do love the ones I use. I'm still curious about new things and went to see the iPad the day it came out and do believe it will change the way we read books. And I still keep Mike's advice in mind that something going wrong provides an opportunity to learn how a device works.
I am grateful to these three teachers and interested to see what new is coming and how it will change the way we work, play, and create.