Interestingly, except for one slide in which I connected the things I was talking about to specific terminology often used in GATE education, I didn’t need to customize my usual presentations much for use with gifted students. (I find this is true with ELL students as well.) Read/write web technologies – like blogs and wikis – lend themselves to just the sort of individualized learning that such programs are striving for.
I am also sympathetic to a comment I received by email from one of my colleagues who read the interactive demo post from the blogging workshop. I’m sharing his thoughts here in a slightly edited excerpt:
Gifted students conferences simply outline what we should be doing with all of our students. All educators need to subscribe to the notion that every child is gifted. Schools should endeavor to more fully develop each kid’s gifts in equal fashion.
Ironically, I still support gifted education, at least for now. I think I see both sides of the argument clearly. As a student I personally benefited from good GATE programs… and detested bad ones. And as a teacher I was particularly thankful to not teach in a place where the best students were pulled out and segregated from others (except in a few AP classes and similarly specialized courses). Still, in the same way that I hate to see people not use technology with any of their students because not all of them have access at home, I think it is lunacy (and societal suicide to some degree) to hold back everyone to a lowest common denominator in education. Perhaps, though, if more schools were in fact fully developing each student’s gifts, then the need for separate GATE education might not be so strong.
I suspect if I call for comments on this reflection I might receive some interesting ones indeed, but have at it. I’d be particularly interested in hearing from any educators working with gifted students, especially any from the conference who might still be tuning in.