By. Rayna Freedman
The first time I saw Collin was on his Science All Around Us promotional video on YouTube. Here was this young child talking about a rudder, water pressure, mass and a mechanical connection system. He carried with him a notebook to share his ideas visually with others. The first time I met Collin we were on a Google hangout and he wanted to show me his operating system he created, his Raspberry Pi work, and how to use those effects in hangouts.
I can honestly say I have learned a lot more from Collin in the short time I have known him than he has learned from me. He has reminded me that the classroom we have still does not meet the needs of today’s student. He talks about globalization and stratification and he is only in the 6th grade. He looks at the world with his eyes wide open and if he is not getting what he needs in his classroom he seeks other opportunities to make this happen.
He is here today to challenge all of us to think BIG! His lessons remind us to engage all learners, use tools to personalize education, and to embrace and accept technology. I know many of us here sitting in this room have had similar conversations with each other. However the voice of the child was missing. The power of the learner’s voice puts it into perspective.
Collin is inspiring, creative, and an outside the box thinker. He represents so many of our students who struggle because the classroom does not fit their needs. He offers a voice for change, possibility, and imagination of what the classroom could be and should be. The glint in his eye when he talks, his raw honesty in how he sees the world and the passion he has for change drew me in the second I met him. It was an honor and a privilege to hear him speak.
If you know a passionate student who has a message to empower MassCUE members please consider submitting their name and a video link to firstname.lastname@example.org. I also hope many of our readers will consider submitting an RFP for the CUEkids area for the conference in 2017! They are part of the heart and soul of the MassCUE conference!
Rayna Freedman is beginning her 17th year at the Jordan/Jackson Elementary School in Mansfield, MA. She has taught grades 3-5 and is an ITS. She is working on her doctorate through Northeastern as she hopes to change the field of education some day. Rayna is a member of the MassCUE Board of Directors and has been presenting at the annual conference since 2010. She runs creativity workshops for the Reynold’s Center, is a BrainPOP certified educator, and advocate for teaching digital citizenship in the classroom. She is a member of ILA, KDP, ISTE, NSTA, MASCD, and ASCD. She was recently chosen to be a PBS Digital Innovator. She served on the DESE Digital Literacy and Computer Science Standards Panel and was the North Attleboro Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year in 2011. For more articles by Ms. Freedman, she is published in Early Childhood Education Today 12th and 13th edition, Building Teachers: A Constructivist Approach to Introducing Education 2nd edition, and Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education 7th edition.