I greatly enjoyed watching this PBS video on Digital Media, and thought that the idea of teaching today’s students to embrace change is very smart. With technology changing constantly, it is certainly a necessity.
The Learning Program that most interested me was Game-Based Learning. Schools in Southern California and New York have created a method where students can learn to solve problems, regarding subjects from Drama to Aesop’s Fables, all through game design. The theory behind this method of learning is that game design requires problem solving, collaboration, imagination, and analytical skills. Teachers use different elements of game design to help expand lessons from just paper or video to much more interactive method of instruction.
These schools meet state standards, while also adding their own value: technology. Students use a variety of digital media tools every day in order to receive lessons and instructions. Students all ahve their own wireless laptops as well as many other tools. Teachers understand that sometimes the laptops are great, while other times the might need to be “put away when it’s not the best time to use them.”
By integrating technology so thoroughly into the classroom, students find themselves less distracted by technology and simply put, just more “used to it.” Instead of hoping the teacher will show a video at the end of the day, students commented that they are normally always interested to learn lessons, because the way they are presented is “interesting” and interactive.
Students also use the technology tools themselves to create work and complete homework. Podcasts, game design, website design, digital comics, and more are all used to express taught concepts and to complete homework assignments.
Teachers comment that a digital classroom is helpful for students who would consider themselves to be daydreamers, because it is so interactive that it keeps students engaged. One student commented, “Oh, this looks fun, I want to learn it!”
The only concern expressed in this video connected to Digital Gaming is a fear of addiction. Since most parents are not used to utilizing this much technology, or playing video games on a regular basis, many parents are unsure how to react to all of these changes.
But this is where parents need to remember that change is good. In a world of ever-evolving technology, and constantly new ideas and inventions, it is critical that students learn how to use the latest technologies – and that the students learn to love the act of learning new technologies.
In terms of being addicted to games, the teachers respond to parent concerns by simply saying that in order to win games, students must work hard. Teachers encourage parents to think of it as dedication. Besides, all of the video games at the school have education benefits.
“I want to win, but in order to win I have to study to understand first,” said one of the students.
It’s not like the games are mindless. Students are either designing them and thinking analytically and creatively at the same time, or students are trying to win games that have educational lessons int hem.
I can certainly see game design becoming a much more common approach to learning in the not so distant future.