A kid on a skateboard whizzed past me, rolled off the sidewalk, and into the street and nearly collided head on with an oncoming car that may have been going a handful of miles over the speed limit. Nevertheless, the rattled young man received a verbal lashing from the elders who just happened to be standing outside at the moment to add insult to injury. I decided that I would walk over to him and see if he was okay. He said he was in a hurry because he wanted to get home to tell his mom the good news. He had finally made the honor roll after struggling in math for 2 years.
Two years of hard work doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but when you’re in the 7th grade, one’s social rapport becomes an important component of a kid’s self confidence. Keyjon, since the 5th grade, could never score higher than 1’s and 2’s in math. I asked him what his trick was, and he said, “I signed up for this website called Luminosity. I went on there every day and practiced the memory games.” We’ve all seen the commercials, the testimonies of people who’ve claimed that they spend 30 minutes a day on the site and have actually improved their attention, speed, memory, and problem solving skills. I never thought it actually worked.
Keyjon says his favorite games are the speed and memory games. He says, “Now when I’m in class, I can answer the questions really fast on my tests, I’m able to remember everything now. It’s fun.”
When students are actively engaged in their learning environments, statistics show that student learning outcomes and academic performance increases dramatically. With our school district in a $34 million deficit, perhaps an alternative to low ADA and dropout numbers could involve overhauling the way we approach educating children in this new technological age. The capacity for our kids to learn and find motivation is evident when students like Keyjon Smith make valiant strides toward educating himself. We could learn a lot from the children if we sat back and listened.