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Saturday, September 02, 2006

We will educate by any means necessary: if that means video games, bring it on!



I spent some time over at edbloggernews this morning and turned up a great article from David Warlick that I had missed about Video Games in the classroom. It was a long one (as he promised) but worth the wade:


I suspect that this is a signature component of most video game experiences and also a core characteristic of being young today. This is dramatically different from my childhood, decades ago. Video games, as well as IM, social networks, and even the way that they are treated in the store, are far far far more responsive than my childhood experience. Within video games, every decision, action, collaboration, acquired feature or assetÂ…everything is responded to in some way. Children and teens, today, are accustomed to being responded to. Those from my generation fear that pampered children will be spoiled, and this is probably a justified concern. Still, these responsive information landscapes, where they play, are intensely instructional. They are learning engines.

So how do we adapt our classrooms, instructional practices, and procedures, so that they respond to student learning, rather than merely facilitate teacher presentation? Something we need to be talking about.


As I add my one cent to the David's two, I think it is a matter of getting past what “we think” about a methodology and actually observe what is happening in the mind of the student.

  • Are they learning?
  • What are they learning?
  • Are they engaged?
  • Is this part of the knowledge base that they need to have to be an effective member of society?
  • Are we pushing them?
  • Are they motivated to take the subject with them into their lives?

By any means necessary must become the battle cry of teachers.

We will educate by any means necessary!

We will leave behind our preconceived notions!
We will go into territory where we do not feel comfortable!
We will go where our students congregate and interact!
We will do what it takes to reach the most disconnected and connected generation in history.

Education is a perpetual crisis that always leaves us one generation from anarchy!
Teaching must be done by
ethical,
wise,
people of character
who have education of their topic as their aim
and any means necessary as their methodology.

(Thanks to David Warlick for suggesting a reedit of these lines.)

My boring keyboarding class became much more exciting when I typed the lessons into text files and imported them into mavis beacon. The kids play games as they are learning to type! Engaging! Exciting!

Are we sitting around and playing games!? Yes! Are we learning? Yes!

I’ve had quite enough of the stuffy academic critic who frowns over their half glasses at those of us engaging children and reply with a “Humph! If they are having fun, they can’t be learning!”

I reply,

“You can force a child’s body to sit in a chair, but you can not require them to engage their mind! That is done by a good teacher! Give them access to a wide variety of tools, and let them teach!"

I am in the teaching, mind engagement business! Video games are engaging! They need to be harnessed for top flight, excellent, meaningful, EDUCATION!

As I read Kathy Sierra's cry to make passionate users, I am determining that I want to create passionate students! Passionate about learning! Engaged and excited in a world of knowledge and sharing!

I think many educators need to get past their Hang-ups and get into the Web 2.0 classroom where you have to get past your Hang-ups and Hang-on!

Teaching is a joy! I will do it by any means necessary! Will you?

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