High School Junior Elizabeth - Having the World at My Fingertips
Ever since I started taking French classes, I have been obsessed with the idea of travelling internationally. I would spend countless hours looking up airline tickets to obscure locations instead of doing my homework. In my class, I was fortunate enough to write letters and e-mail with so many different people from different countries, all while learning more about the French culture. So after taking 4 years of le français, I’ve figured that in the future I’m not going to remember what verb tenses have to be used in a formal conversation or how to use the future tense of aller (for all those wondering, it’s ir-). Instead, I know that I am going to remember the lasting relationships that came from taking a foreign language. And I’ve realized that creating those relationships wouldn’t be possible without this amazing thing called technology.
It’s kind of hard to believe that people could connect with others internationally and maintain a relationship before instant messaging and e-mailing came into the world. Call me a 21st Century kid, but I honestly don’t know how that would work. It would take so long for letters to be mailed! When anyone has some spare time, please feel free to tell me about the old ways of human communication. Bringing it back to modern day, it is pretty amazing that I can learn about so many different cultures without having to leave my town - let alone my house- when in the past one would have to rely on possibly outdated books or going to the country. And while I would love to take weekend trips to southern France, I don’t think my savings account would be too happy. I feel so lucky to live in a place where I can start a lifelong relationship with a single click, and I have to attribute that to my high school, Downers Grove North. All of the students have been fortunate enough to get their own laptops this year, which really helps to further our learning both in and out of the classroom. Now we can communicate with our peers and educators outside of the 50 minute class period, which really enhances our learning and lets us have a deeper understanding of a topic. For me, it has helped to strengthen relationships with individuals inside my school, as well as people who live 4,000 miles away.
Connecting In Real Life
This past summer I was lucky enough to travel to France for two weeks with my sister. We stayed with a family we met through an exchange program, and I still talk to them all the time. I don’t think that it would be possible to maintain such a strong relationship without the use of technology. Before leaving we would be e-mailing them constantly, asking questions about their town and what we would be doing.
Connecting for Learning
Technology has also built strong connections within my high school. I am now able to have conversations with my teachers that had me in class two years ago, which would be really hard when I didn’t see them throughout the day. More specifically, I have made a lasting bond with my ninth grade English teacher, Mr. Bronke, who introduced the concept of “tweet-marking” to me. I don’t see him very often, but through our e-mailing I know that I can rely on him through the rest of my high school career as well as when I’m in college. It is so amazing to have the world at my fingertips, and that I can start to impact lives and reach out to others with a single click. My hope is that all schools will be fortunate enough to have laptops or other types of technology available to them like my high school has for us, so they can have the chance to build long-lasting relationships that will help them in the future. The use of technology in the classroom has expanded my horizon and has helped me achieve my goals; now it’s time to help others in different areas reach their goals too.
Student Voice, Elizabeth Hodonicky is a junior at Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, Illinois.