By Jennifer Hatcher, AVID Elective Teacher/Coordinator, W.E. Greiner Middle School
I never could have imagined the future that we live in, and I’m both terrified and intrigued by the world that my son will grow up in.
I have a confession to make: I’m somewhat of a Trekkie. …Not the Klingon-speaking-kind, mind you, but the kind who knows that Picard prefers Earl Grey tea, hot. …The kind who uses a Borg quote as the title of a blog, expecting everyone to get my sense of humor and feeling disappointed and a little embarrassed when the reference is unknown. I’m also the one always lamenting, “Why don’t we have a transporter machine yet?!” as I sit in five-o’clock traffic on the drive home, and inquiring, “Where’s a replicator when you need it?!” after I burnt the pizza at six o’clock. If only we had what marvelous inventions the crew of the Enterprise has access to—how different our world would be!
And then, seemingly overnight, our world started to change. A real pocket universal translator popped up as the app of the day for only $2.99. …One that would give Uhura a run for her money. I can FaceTime those important mission briefings with my husband from a galaxy far, far, away when I’m at an AVID workshop in another city. And I have an app that, with a swipe of a finger, controls the life support systems in my ship, uh, I mean home. For my son’s generation, this is just the way that life is. For me, it’s still mindboggling and a little intimidating at times. But resistance is indeed futile. The world is ever-changing, and we must evolve with it.
I’m usually on the tail end of innovation, but recently, I purchased a virtual reality headset. I can swim with the sharks, fly on a comet, and walk with the dinosaurs, all from the comfort of my own living room. It’s brilliant. I have my very own holodeck. But what is so exciting to me, as an educator, is how technology will open so many new doors for our students. I work in a title one, urban campus where budgets are tight, but our dreams are ever-expanding. On December 4, it didn’t matter that our budget for buses and field trips were cut. It didn’t matter that the field trip paperwork didn’t get a final approval from another office downtown. In true AVID fashion, we boldly went where no AVID class has gone before and joined the first ever AVID Virtual College Fair! My students were able to chat with college reps from all over the world. …California, New York, Florida, London! Beam me up, Scotty! …Rutgers, Vanderbilt Columbia, University of Houston! Our transporter beamed us all over the country. We walked the campuses with virtual tours, we asked higher level questions to admission officers, and our eyes were opened to what the future could be.
One of the representatives from Palm Beach State College was kind enough to send our class a care package of pennants, brochures, and mascot masks after conversing with one of our AVID students during the Virtual College Fair. I’m embarrassed to say this, but while I don’t get the whole Instagram/hashtag thing, I DO know that if you look at #GoPBSC, you’ll see one very excited AVID class of yellow jackets showing some Panthers pride for a school 1,200 miles away.
AVID is partnering with CollegeWeekLive.com to host another Virtual College Fair on Friday, March 4. All I have to say to that is: Beam us up Scotty and count us in!
Live long and prosper, AVID!
Jennifer Hatcher is the AVID Elective teacher/coordinator at W.E. Greiner Middle School in Dallas, Texas. She has been teaching at W.E. Greiner for 16 years and has been with AVID for four years. Prior to teaching AVID, she was an 8th grade reading teacher. She is the Electives Department Chair and a member of the Campus Instructional Leadership Team. She is a proud graduate of Baylor University and was a first-generation college graduate. She enjoys scrapbooking, reading, and spending time with her husband and son.