Hi All –
Today’s list is inspired by an event that took place last night sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation . The foundation recently announced a fifty million dollar initiative to investigate digital media and learning, and this panel discussion is the first of several regional events planned. The following links are related to the panelists and the ensuing conversations that took place after their initial comments.
While many may be dismissive of the value of video games in education, I would recommend that educators keep an open mind to the possibilities. Engaging simulations, not the drill and kill types of games, can potential immerse children in new experiences and problem solving situations. In his remarks to the assembled group, Jonathan Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation, cited statistics from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that indicate that our kids already deeply engaged in digital media and communication. It is clear, to me at least, that education must roll with and adapt to these changes.
I found last night’s
discussions to be inspiring, yet I still have a few questions. For
instance, David Williamson Shaffer of the University of
Wisconsin-Madison noted that computers are very important because
they have caused the transformation of information. I agree, but I
wonder how many other educators would share this view. I think many
people believe that face-to-face interactions with their students
cannot be replaced with technology, and others simply have not
stumbled upon the potential power of computers in a personally
Secondly, it was clear to me that the panel participants are forward thinking people who are not challenged by change. I wonder how they expect schools to adapt to new models of learning when traditionally, most schools change very slowly. Does technology change too rapidly for schools to keep up? And if so, why is innovation not embraced more in schools? And, how does school change affect students? Those are just a few of the questions that come to my mind.
Anyway, I hope you are as interested in this topic as I am, and that you’ll take some time to explore the following links. Hopefully, I will blog more about my thoughts on this topic...
David Williamson Shaffer, The University of Wisconsin-Madison
Games mentioned by Sasha:
This specific site wasn’t mentioned by the panel, but the author of this piece, Henry Jenkins, and his work at MIT with media literacy was cited. He also has a blog: http://www.henryjenkins.org/.