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Using Technology to Explore Their Curiosity
07.03.14 |

For Ryan Humphries ’12, computer technology offers more than a tool for making life more efficient. As the elementary and middle school gifted support teacher for the Solanco School District in Lancaster County, Humphries is passionate about using computers to open doors for his students to explore the contours of their curiosity. “When it comes to teaching gifted students, there are a lot of opportunities that technology can provide that it couldn’t even 10 years ago,” he says. “A lot of what we do is project-based and very individualized to meet each student’s learning strengths, so there are a lot of opportunities for exploration with my students. They can really dig into things that interest them, direct their own learning, and make connections across content areas, which is really big.”

But for Humphries, who studied elementary and special education at LVC, technology is about far more than surfing the Internet. “We use technology for a lot of Internet research, but also as a tool for manipulating thoughts and ideas,” he says. “It allows for a lot of creativity in how they present projects. PowerPoint is an option, but it’s not the only option anymore. They can record videos, make more creative presentations, even make podcasts. The kids might have a subject and create a transcript explaining that subject and then record it through something like GarageBand, where they can add music and some pizazz to what they’re doing.”

Humphries looks forward to future innovations in the way students can use technology to explore their interests. “It’s so essential that they’re technologically literate,” he says. “It’s tough to predict where technology will go in the future because everything is changing so fast, but we can see inklings in the way media is changing.” He anticipates innovations in the video gaming field that would enable his students to use games to explore an idea or tell a story. But no matter which direction new technologies take, Humphries is committed to helping his students stay abreast of the changes as they explore the ideas that excite them the most.

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