Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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Some interesting conversations have come out of my last post “Goodbye to your job.

Now do I seriously thing that the Microsoft Surface is going to make teachers obsolete? No, but I do believe a product like the Microsoft Surface is going to push teachers to rethink education. Especially if students are already telling me “You won’t have a job.”

Absolutely!

What excites me is not the Microsoft Surface itself but the technology. My favorite part of the video below is the part where the guy is standing and playing with Google Earth on a wall, or flat surface. That is the technology that will push teacher to rethink how to teach and what it means to interact with information.

I can not wait for the day when schools are buying Google Earth Pro accounts instead of pull down world maps that are out of date before they are hung in our classrooms, and then stay in our classrooms for years never to be updated.

In 1999 I taught 4th grade with a pull down map that still had USSR on it.

It’s not the actual device that excites me, it’s the opportunity it provides us with to interact with information on a whole new level. To be able to touch, remix, slide, and manipulate information like never before.

This technology will push teachers to rethink their lessons, rethink their teaching, and rethink how you arrange desks in a classroom where every wall is a learning surface. What will teaching be like in this new classroom?

Maybe that’s the reason why my students said “Goodbye to your job.” Maybe they understand that technologies like this are coming, and that if we do not change then school’s will no longer fit their needs. If schools continue to not embrace these changes then students will learn on their own with these technologies in their homes.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately on the single device that is going to do it all. The more I listen to podcasts, read stuff on the web, and look at new products coming out. I have to say the gaming console has to be the top of my list.

  • You can connect to the web
  • Download movies, songs, games
  • Join communities
  • Watch TV
  • Play Games
  • and they have a larger hard drive then my laptop.

As gaming consoles continue to evolve and pickup on these new technologies like multi touch interfaces I can see them becoming the all in one device in homes. You can already do so much with these new gaming consoles that many of the younger generations just have a gaming console and don’t need/want a computer.

It will be interesting to see where all this leads in the coming years.

[tags]gaming, microsoft surface, 21st Century Education[/tags]

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How far away are we in education from actually having computer games that attract students? I want to know of the first school that stops looking at computer games and starts looking at Wii and PS3 as a way for students to learn in a digital world. From the Detroit Free Press comes an article “Games of learning take action to lure kids.” All I can say is…it’s about time!

Has anyone looked at educational games lately? I find them boring and I don’t have a Wii or PS3 waiting for me at home or under the Christmas Tree. According to the article:

“They’re using techniques that mainstream commercial games are using in order to catch kids’ interest and hold their interest, but coupling that with educational theory and educational content,” said Ethan Watrall, an assistant professor of information studies and media at Michigan State University who’s a researcher with MSU’s Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab.

Gee there’s a concept. Games can have a place in education but it’s no the Reader Rabbits and Oregon Trail that we need to be playing in the computer lab. The article talks about Dimenxian. Go watch the trailer. Now if I’d of had a game like that in high school, I might of actually done well in math. I love the tag line “Homework just got harder.” Wouldn’t this be a cool homework tool? Learn concepts in class and then go home and practice those concepts along with others you might not have learned yet in a game environment? What if you rewrote your curriculum to match teaching Algebra skills as students need them in the game? Now that would be cool! I can picture it now, a score sheet on the wall in the classroom where students keep track of where they are in the game. Another wall chart that has tips and tricks. Can you imagine the conversation in that math class?

Now that’s education!

[tags]gaming[/tags]

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The middle schoolers of teentek, and all our middle schoolers for that matter, are HUGE into this flash game.

Monday I couldn’t keep the boys off of it. Every time I turned around
someone had it open and was playing it. So I took a step back into the
corner of the room and just watched (Seriously…I went and stood in
the corner!) I watched as they slowly opened the game back up and
started playing, I observed them, watching their actions and
interactions with the game:

“You made this level?”
“Yep!”
“How’d you do that?”

“There’s a level builder you can download and create your own levels for the game.”

That was it, my in. So I went to the kid who made the level and as I approached the game got minimized.

“Bring that back up…you made this?”
“Yeah.”

“How did you do it?”

“You just download the level builder and place the different markers
where you want them. The trick is placing them perfectly so that you
don’t have to even move your guy…he just bounces off these and misses
those and wins all by himself…that’s how I created this one anyway.”

“How long did this take you?”

“Oh, about 4 hours.”

“So, could we download this level builder here at school and create
levels and release the game on teentek with teentek levels?”

“I guess, the cool part is the file is only 1.65mb. There are 1000s of
levels here and the file is still that small, isn’t that amazing?”

“Yeah, that is amazing?”
“What kind of licensing is on the game?”
“I’ll check that Mr. U.” another student says as they run off to grab a laptop.
“It’s freeware and it says on the web site ‘distribute like hell’.”
“OK, so why don’t you teach these other guys how to create levels and we’ll try to release the game next week.”
“SWEET!” with wide eyes

That was Monday. Today I had two other students approach me. One wants
to make a game that teaches you how to kill spam on your
computer. The other is a skateboarding game. What’s the learning
happening here? Is there any? How about the engagement with technology?

[tags]gaming, conversations, teentek[/tags]

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