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It’s a Transformer

My wife had gone Christmas shopping and I stayed home with the kids. As my son was napping I tried to think of something cool to do with the kids once he woke up. I looked online and the local bowling alley was having a special event for only ten bucks a person from two until five. We could bowl as many games as we wanted. They were going to turn the lights off, play loud music and lasers would be everywhere. It would be fun!

When my daughter and I heard my son stirring we ran upstairs to tell him what we were doing. Between us we had fifty-three years, but we knew in order to have fun we had to have the three-year old’s blessing. He was psyched. We rushed to bowling alley, because it was already three o’clock and we wanted to squeeze as much fun as we could into this whole experience.

Right away we had a problem. My son was adamant that he was not going to wear the bowling shoes. He wanted to wear his shoes. Normally I wouldn’t fight this battle, but I didn’t know if his shoes would damage the floor and it was not my floor.

So I waited.

He began to throw a mini fit.

That’s okay. It’s Saturday and I can wait him out. Unlike a school day when I will sometimes give in because we have to leave the house by a certain time.

I continued to wait.

Then a family began to set up in the lane right next to us. And as luck would have it the kids go to my school. Okay, this is great. They get to watch their vice principal battle with his three-year old. But I held my ground. And I won. He eventually put the shoes on.


Who’s the man now? Oh yeah, oh yeah!

So we bowled for the next two hours. It was a blast. We had the bumpers up, so I was feeling pretty good. We’ve got pizza coming and I am feeling good.

And then he sees it!


A kid about his age had a dinosaur shaped roller that helped her roll the bowl. My son had used one of these before to help manage the whole process and he loved it. Maybe he’ll let it go. Maybe he’ll be fine. He was for a moment. But then he looked right again and saw that kid getting to use that cool dinosaur and he was angry again. So I had my daughter ask the folks in charge if they, by any chance, please please please, had another roller.

They do!

So one of the employees came back with this.


You have got to be kidding me!

This bare bones roller is going to satisfy my son after he has seen a dinosaur roller!?

That’s like handing someone an Apple IIc once they’ve seen and iPad.

He’s not buying it.

Oh no, here comes another mini fit. Think Jon think. You were a teacher. How can you sell this? I looked carefully at the bare-bones contraption one more time. All the while cursing it in my head, because it was not more spectacular.

I’ve got it!

Derek, “It’s a Transformer!”

It did kind of look like one and I knew he had several Transformer action figures. At first he said, “No!” But then, as he began to look at it more carefully, and use his imagination, something must have happened.

“Daddy, can I use the Transformer?”


Then it hit me. This is what we must do each and every day. It is not about the technology. It is about what we bring to the technology.

A classroom set of iPads means nothing if they do not help support and foster students’ passions and creativity. On the other hand, one Apple IIc, in the hands of a creative and innovative educator, can be all-powerful!

I am guilty of this I know. There are times when I allow my children to simply go on the iPad because I know it will keep them occupied. But occupied is not good enough!

Once in a while? Sure.

But most of the time? No.

I have begun to have my daughter do more creating and less ingesting.

And you know what? She likes it.

She has begun to create some Touchcast videos that are pretty cool.

Now I just have got to get to work on my three-year old son.

Think Jon, think.




2 comments on “It’s a Transformer

  1. Reblogged this on Mrs. Eddington's ELL Fun and commented:
    Jon Harper has become one of my favorite bloggers because he’s real. I hope you enjoy his insights as well.

  2. Jon, I think every teacher in every 1:1 school needs to read this blog post. This is a terrific story and really hits home! I will be sharing with our staff this week. Thanks!

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