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
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 childÂ’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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5 thoughts on “We will educate by any means necessary: if that means video games, bring it on!

  1. Vicki,

    I’ve been drinking from the Cool Cat fire hose a great deal the last several days — your recent podcast appearances, as well as catching up on all of the backlog of your posts in my aggregator. How in the world do you find the time to write as much as you do?

    I really love your battle cry. A great deal. It’ll resonate in my head as I return to the trenches next week and in the weeks beyond.

    When are you going to write a wiki book?

  2. Vicki:

    Two things: First, I don’t think I’ve actually ever heard anybody say that “if they’re having fun they can’t be learning,” but I’ve certainly heard similar ideas. This is absolutely ridiculous. When I tell certain people that I have fun at work they laugh and say that is unprofessional. People don’t have fun at work, it’s hard and tiring. Well fortunately I have enough skills in enough different things that the day I stop having fun as an educational consultant and speaker is going to be the day that I find a different job. If I can have fun at work certainly children can have fun at their work, school learning. I had some of my first educational experiences at a camp in Wisconsin called Camp Ramah. Campers had to go to two religious classes a day. As a teacher at the camp I quickly learned that if the kids weren’t having fun they’d stop engaging. The same thing goes for school. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Second, I admire your work and love writing too. If you’re ever looking for a collaborator I’d be happy to do something with you.

    Andrew Pass

  3. Bud,

    Thank you for your encouragement. Actually, I have several writing projects going on right now. Chapters on wikis in two textbooks for Web 2.0 and the new and updated Web 2.0 book by Terry Freeman.

    Also, since May, I’ve been working on a book that has my extreme conviction that is targeted to beginning parents and teachers to bring them into the Web 2.0 in a non-threatening, non-jargon way. I was convicted when DOPA happened that we had too much techno-speak and not enough meaningful conversation showing parents and teachers how these technologies could be used in ways the average person could understand.

    The first installment in my planned series is Safe Online Success for Blogs and Wikis and I’m working for an October publish date. I plan to cover other Web 2.0 technologies in future editions.

    I’m not sure quite how to go about finding a publisher and although I’d like to go that route, my sister has a masters in Graphic design and is laying out the chapters, the cover, etc.

    It is a much needed book and I want to help people.

    As for writing, I do type 120 words per minute so that helps. Throughout my life I’ve spent an hour a day writing in a journal because I’ve always loved two things(besides my God and Family): technology and writing.

    I guess I’ve turned my journal writing into my blogging for this season in my life.

    Thank you for your encouragement, Bud. I enjoy reading your work. You amaze me! I appreciate it more than you know!

  4. Wow! Great insight! I think that you hit the proverbial nail right on the head. It seems that too many teachers resort to traditional methods of teaching. While some students may prosper in classrooms where a lecture is given on a daily basis with a routine test at the end of each unit, many do not. As you mentioned in a more recent post, all children are different, and they all have different learning styles. Because of that, I think that it is of the utmost importance to incorporate new, fun and exciting ways of learning into the classroom. In my experience, the classes where I have been actively involved (whether by means of playing a board game, a video game, doing an experiment, etc.) are the ones in which I have learned the most. Because of that, I agree with you completely on this. Regardless of the fact that it may be questionable by some, new ways of teaching are excellent ways to make your learners prosper more! By resorting to the “tried and true” methods, we are severely inhibiting ourselves…and your students. We must think outside the box!

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