In this article, Matthew Lynch discusses the ever increasing presence of technology in classrooms and it’s debatable effectiveness in this very early stage of it’s implementation.
Does the technology itself provide heightened learning experiences? I’d argue that it does not. Instead, the implementation of the technology is a necessary move to keep students interested in the subject matter. I am not saying that I am against rapid adjustment to cutting-edge technology in learning and practice; I think there is no way to avoid embracing it and still turn out high numbers of world-ready graduates. I just think that there is a danger in relying on the technology to convey learning materials in a vacuum.
What are your opinions on technology in the classroom? In the home? On computer and internet-based learning in general?
Imagine your emotions as a elephant and your inner voice of logic and reason as the rider and guide of that elephant. How is your job made easier or harder depending on that elephant’s current state of mind; whether it is playful, bored, frustrated, engaged, angry, or distracted?
Teaching, according to Dave Small, often neglects the elephant. But this shouldn’t be the case because the motivation of the elephant is a great predictor of persistence in learning.
Learners are not just motivated by factors that can lead to a specific measure of success, but also are motivated by what appeals or drives other aspects of their personalities, and have a finite amount of energy to persist through experiences that do not align with their motivations. As learning designers, we need to find ways to tap into what motivates the elephant as well, to keep the elephant engaged. All too often, our rider gets tired, and then it’s party time for the elephant.
Minecraft is a current obsession for many kids, teenagers, and adults alike.
It’s relatively simple. The game looks a bit crude… the graphics look blocky, like giant, digital Lego pieces… The goal of the game is to craft, or build, structures in these 16-bit worlds, and figuring things out on your own is a big part of it. In its “creative mode,” Minecraft is about building, exploration, creativity and even collaboration.
But many educators now are getting creative and using the world and tools of Minecraft to create immerse and engaging opportunities to learn.
Minecraft is being used to educate children on everything from science to city planning to speaking a new language, said Joel Levin, co-founder and education director at the company TeacherGaming.
A history teacher in Australia set up “quest missions” where students can wander through and explore ancient worlds. An English-language teacher in Denmark told children they could play Minecraft collectively in the classroom but with one caveat: they were allowed to communicate both orally and through text only in English. A science teacher in California has set up experiments in Minecraft to teach students about gravity.
But what do the neurologists and cognitive scientists have to say about it?
A study by S.R.I. International, a Silicon Valley research group that specializes in technology, found that game-based play could raise cognitive learning for students by as much as 12 percent and improve hand-eye coordination, problem-solving ability and memory.
And children who play games could even become better doctors. No joke. Neuroscientists performed a study at Iowa State University that found that surgeons performed better, and were more accurate on the operating table, when they regularly played video games.
In this article posted on the Pearson Blog, Matthew Gaertner asks the reader to consider questions regarding how College admission boards and America in general define ‘merit,’ and how this affects a student’s trajectory in post secondary education when faced with socioeconomic obstacles.
America has struggled facing up to social and educational inequities… We are a nation obsessed with “merit,” but the narrow measures we use to identify it have produced college campuses that bear little resemblance to the population at large… If part of our problem is an unhealthy over reliance on grades and test scores, part of the solution may be an expanded definition of merit.
Interestingly enough, Colorado’s own CU Boulder has already taken steps in this direction.
CU developed admissions metrics that account for socioeconomic hardship. Implementing these metrics in admissions decisions has paid dividends in terms of both economic and racial diversity, and preliminary results suggest this system’s beneficiaries can handle college-level work. Most importantly, CU has demonstrated that seemingly messy concepts like disadvantage and overachievement can be measured and applied in admissions decisions in a principled, responsible way.
The alternative is business as usual, economic stratification on college campuses, and the continued erosion of inter generational mobility in the U.S.