NGLB - No Gamer Left Behind
This is a blast from the past, going back over five-year ago, before anyone had heard of "gamification" or any such nonsense. The George Lucas Foundation as part of an Edutopia documentary explored the possible wealth of learning that might be accomplished through something that at that point was thought to be mindless anti-social entertainment: gaming and game design. More after the video... Enjoy. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFZNFDMS-TY&w=600&h=407]
So, these ideas of using young students' natural attraction to technology and working with technology to do more than shoot aliens or build virtual empires is not a new idea. It's a different genre perhaps, a different spin, but it's the same idea discovered many years ago by Seymour Papert and the MIT Media Lab. Watch...
It's sad that much of technology education over my 15-years of teaching has made the mistake of thinking that we need to teach technology like we teach languages**: separate the classes out into specific applications beginning with keyboarding, then wordprocessing, then Internet research, then maybe databases and don't bother with programming languages until high school senior year (and computer games are verboten!). When I taught in an elementary computer lab, the teachers I worked with made their students write out their projects in long-hand before letting them touch the keyboards to type out their story. It was a good way to motivate them to write their stories because the students really wanted to use the computers, but it also showed that technology in the teachers' minds was an add-on and not central to the lesson. Also, I remember how many times students were disappointed that their stories that took up over half a page in long-hand usually ended up only being maybe two-lines on the computer screen. [fail trombone]. As long as we use technology in the classroom as a glorified typewriter we're going to continue to fail at the enormous potential that technology in the hands of students could produce. Sad.
Seymour Papert 1983 Uploaded by cynthiaso on May 25, 2007 This is a piece of a 47 minute video
**SIDEBAR: It still amazes me, after all we've learned about language acquisition and brain-based-learning, that we don't teach foreign languages to young children when they are most adept at learning languages, but wait until high school, when language acquisition is slowing down to stopping and we're surprised that very few actually "learn" become conversant in their chosen foreign language. This shows how traditional education is hurting education.