Pondering Giftedness

1. the quality or state of being gifted

A conversation with a colleague several weeks ago has had me pondering giftedness and what it really entails.

In school we have GATE programs for gifted and talented students – but that usually means those gifted in arts or music or maths or sports etc. But what about students who are gifted in other ways? Are there other types of giftedness?

My colleague, Julie, and I are running a buddy class program – we split our classes and each work with 1/2 of the others class on Friday afternoons – that means I get 14 of my Year 3&4 students and 13 of her Y1 students (5-1/2 year olds).

Julie is a talented/gifted artist – she’s had several exhibitions to show case her art over the years. I, on the other hand, struggle to draw stick figures!

I have some talent in the area of music and singing – but am not what you’d call gifted in those areas. My area of gifting is to do with technology which is an area that Julie struggles in.

Colleagues say to me “but how did you do that?” all the time – my response is that computers talk to me. And as strange as that may sound I believe that it is a type of giftedness – one that perhaps is overlooked – “he’s just a geek” or “she’s just a geek” being a common reaction to those of us who sit down at our computers to produce our masterpieces – whether they be webpages or wikis or whatever.

I know that when I’m talking to other teachers about a program and we’re tossing ideas around as to what we can do, I come up with the techo stuff in the same way that the arty people, and the literary people come up with their ideas.

I also don’t think it strange to be on my computer for hours on end – I get a lot of enjoyment tinkering away at different things – my wiki page; working on my wikieducator stuff; blogging; tweeting; chatting online etc. My computer is an extension of me – as I explained it to someone last week – some people take handbags with them whereever they go – I take some sort of computing device – I’m never far from being online – even if it’s only via my cell phone.

What do you think? Is an affinity with computers, web2.0, cloud computing, technology to the extent that the machines are talking to us a form of giftedness?

And … if it is – what are we doing for the students in our class who are gifted in this way?