Games and Learning

This week has been exciting on a number of fronts. I have been writing my Expression of Interest for my PhD application and getting paper work in order. I have also been working with a friend of mine on a lecture about games, ICT and learning for a tertiary lecture. I have heard back from an international conference that I will be involved in. And on Friday I finally got to use ‘Elluminate’ and join 11 others for an international meeting in relation to Games and Learning. It has brought to light something I have been mulling over in my mind for a long time: how can you learn to use something if you are never given the opportunity?

“Elluminate” has been around for a while, I have known about it for at least a year but haven’t had the opportunity to use it. Until this week. The Games and Learning meeting was based in the UK, it was scheduled for 10am their time so worked out to 7pm here in Australia. The previous meeting was very late at night, something I couldn’t commit to with my family at this stage. So I was excited to finally be able to join in and hear what is happening in this group. I logged into the meeting 15 minutes early, followed the prompts to set up my microphone and then sat looking at the screen. My WH was explaining the finer points (he has used it for the last few years at work) and then someone else joined the room. Instead of talking she started drawing on the ‘board’…naughts and crosses, so I found a pen tool and started playing. As more people joined we played paddocks too. What a way to start, relaxed and fun.  Once the meeting started we all got a chance to talk and introduce ourselves. It was great to hear from people with similar interests in education and games. The great thing for me was I was able to use “elluminate” confidently by the end of this meeting.  If I hadn’t had this opportunity (and this friendly environment) I would still be waiting for a time to find out about this program. And without this program and technology, I wouldn’t have this network of kindered spirits opening up before me.

I look around at my tertiary students, mostly confident with technology, and then at the children coming through schools. These students will be digital natives, those with no concept of life without technology and the connectedness it offers. Then I am frustrated by hearing management in some schools refusing to support their teachers and their students to use the technology available to allow our students opportunities to grow and shine (eg some schools not allowing junior primary students to access computers other than for literacy use, or funding, tagged for technology, spent on grounds maintenance instead of things like electronic white boards). As a teacher I firmly believe it is our job to provide students with opportunities to experience the world in many ways, but if we are limited in our resources this is a difficult task. I am reminded of the points from my post last week, especially Sugata Mitra’s work: if given the opportunity children (and teachers) are capable of amazing things.

Teacher or parent: How will you encourage your kids to shine?

Until Next Week

Fiona

 

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