Social Media and Education

Posts Tagged ‘Digital Divide

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As an older digital citizen, I find it interesting how kids stick with a video game. They will sit for hours with their DS, their xBox, their Playstation, ect. starting various levels of play over and over again until they have mastered the technique. In school, teachers try to get our students to master a times table or a list of helping verbs. They are lucky if only half of the class needs remediation.

The people who make video games are on to something. They provide just enough interest and challenge to keep kids reaching for that next level. But it is more than that. It is the reward at the end. It is not a reward of monetary or physical value. It is nothing you can hold in your hand. It is a reward of accomplishment. It is a reward you hold in your psyche. It is rescuing the Fair Maiden.

I use the imagery of the Fair Maiden, because she was the person to be rescued in the old video game, Donkey Kong. I hate to think of how much money I spent trying to rescue that lass. It wasn’t a game I owned. I played it at the arcade and at the pizza joint up the street. Mastering those levels were the mini-goals that kept me coming back, hoping against hope that I would one day save the Fair Maiden.

As teachers, what can we learn from the insatiable desire of our students to work through failure after failure in a video game in the hopes of an intangible measure of success. How do we get them to look at learning in the same way? How do we get them to be so involved in learning that they can think on nothing else? I try to figure that out every day.

Here is an example. Recently, I introduced my students to Glogster. Glogster is an online program that helps its users develop and publish digital poster. The graphics are excellent. The tools are easily mastered. It’s safe for kids.

I told my kids there were some levels to be mastered. I alluded to a reward. The kids jumped right into the site. They taught themselves to choose and manipulate the graphics. They learned how to add text and photos. They learned how to add music and videos. They learned how to create hyperlinks. Then, they started to wonder what would happen next. I told them we would figure something out.

We started talking about Science projects. We had done some earlier in the year. The kids had written reports, made power point presentations. created dioramas, and posters. I told them that this time around, I wanted to see if they could come up with a way to show their work with some kind of digital media. I loaded the music from 2001 A Space Odyssey in my CD player and leaned back in my chair while they talked.

I am not sure who came up with the idea first. I only know that it wasn’t me. Suddenly it was everyone’s idea – Glogster! Everyone wanted to use Glogster. I gave them a list of topics from which they could freely choose. Then I stopped them. There were more levels to be played.

They had to do research. They needed information from books, from the web, from experts in the field. They jumped right into the project. They collected their information and wrote citations for their resources. They assembled a database for those things as well as supplemental pictures, videos, and hyperlinks. Some added bits of music or wrote tracks in Garage Band. Then, I turned them loose in Glogster.

Their projects are due next week. I can’t wait to see what they have created. Granted, I can take sneak peeks through my Glogster account. I just really don’t want to do that. They are so excited. I don’t want to say anything in the way of comments or advice. I want them to continue to relish their learning.

It is also interesting that some of them seem to think that using Glogster is their Fair Maiden. What they don’t yet realize is that their Love Of Learning is the Fair Maiden I wanted them to rescue all along.

Rick

Isn’t it time we started listening to the real stakeholders in education?

In my last post, I linked a video from the the 140 Conference recently held in New York City. As I listened to the participants, I decided to begin learning a bit more about each of them. In his blog, My Island View, Tom Whitby put up a post he titled, Deal or No Deal. He hoped that his post would begin a focused dialogue on Social Media in Education. He has his readers off to a good start.

I’m not going to rehash his comments here. I would like you to click the above link and read the article. Next, read the comments. See how others are reacting to his points. Then, come back and tell me what you think. Let’s spread the dialog across the web by sharing ideas and opinions via our own blogs, Twitter, FaceBook, and more. Take the questions that are raised and the points that are made to your own PLN’s.

We need to begin forming a plan of action for the roles of social media in education. As the discussion continues on the internet, it must begin to move purposefully into the agendas of our PTO’s, administrators, and school boards.

Rick

A year ago, a teacher friend of mine, Matt Kuntz, from Oak Park, Illinois, told me about a great Nintendo game called Professor Layton and the Curious Village. The game, he said, was chock full of great math puzzles and kids in his math classes loved solving them.

His word was enough for me. I found the game, and being somewhat ignorant of gaming, realized I would have to save some money for a Nintendo DS to play it. Kids in my neighborhood often come to me for help with their math homework after their parents have given up. I asked them for advice. One girl explained she was saving money for a new DS Lite and offered to sell me her old one. She assured me the game I had purchased would play just fine.

She was right. The game worked great. Now all I had to do was figure out a way to buy 30 copies of the game for my students (assuming they all had their own DS’s) or a way to project what I had. I asked around. One guy told me he could rewire my DS and make a plug to connect it to a projector.
That was last summer. The DS became a toy for my grandkids to play with when they visited.

A few days ago, I received a “gift” from our Tech Department, a AVerMedia document camera. It was a great addition to use with my Mimio board. We have been studying rocks and the magnification on the document camera was excellent. Being able to use it without blocking the view of my whiteboard had significant advantages.

At the end of school today, some of my students got out their DS’s and iPods. That is when the idea hit me. I had one of the students put their DS under the document camera. I grabbed a double-male mic cable from my supply cabinet, put a mini-pin adapter on one end. I used it to plug the DS into my sound system.

The result was incredible. I had a 4′ x 6′ image of the DS screen on my white board and I could crank the sound high enough to shake the walls. Tomorrow, teams of students will begin solving the puzzles of Professor Layton’s Curious Village. I am inspired. I know my students will be thoroughly into the process. They will come up with plenty of other ideas for using their hand-held gaming devices for their school work. Can’t wait to get to school in the morning.

Rick


The Educator’s PLN

Teaching Tech-Savvy Kids

January 2018
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