Evernote and Motivation

In my guise as a special educator (I am an aide and pretend to be nothing more or less..well ok, I am a tech pusher too) I am constantly looking for way to motivate and extract higher levels of work from the "clients" that I serve on a daily basis.

I have also been party to discussions about using games on technology as reward, which I'll call Angry Birds Syndrome, to motivate. In other words, "if you do your work using this pencil invented in 1565 and this paper invented in 104 then you can use this technology invented in 2009 to play a game". Sounds kind of silly put that way.

I use tech all the time but the difference is that for me using tech to do your work is the motivator not playing games afterwards. If you think about it, kids want to appear more grown up. They want to model adult behavior (and we know what a double-edged sword that can be) and what they see is adults using technology to complete everyday tasks whether it's ordering things online, planning vacations or, in some cases, checking the school website to see what's up at school.

So when one of my "clients" who I has yet to embrace my love of writing made a statement that I thought would make a good story I began a 10 minute interview process with him over his statement. I began entering what he was telling me into Evernote on my Windows Phone 7. after a few minutes of jotting down the stream in its entirety he stopped me and asked what I was doing. I told him he was writing a story and that I was just entering what he was giving me. He asked me to read it back to him which I did and then began an active 15 minute revision cycle. The input was exactly what he gave me. I didn't editorialize I just asked a probing question once and awhile. When he was done we had a personal narrative based on an event in his life exactly as he recalled it. He said, "so writing is just like talking then?" I said yes and he seemed proud of what he had accomplished.

Later we went to his case manager's room and I showed him how the story he had written on the phone with me was available on the computer. We copy/pasted it into MS Word and he added a different font for the title and his name. We printed a copy for the teacher and left it on the screen for his case manager.

All in all I was thrilled. A small and to me cool but not earthshattering bit of tech has given a voice to someone who had none in the written sense anyway which brings me to my point; if you are resistant to technology you are going to be able to explore/play with things that might come in handy some day and that would be a shame for you and those who you teach.