Those of you who know me know that I am not a “gamer.”  Never have been, never will be.  Even Angrybirds has failed to grip me in its talons of addiction (though I can’t say the same for my partner).

Anyway, I thought this post on a blog I read regularly was interesting because this is a blog that is mainly about yoga, green living, etc, and here it is touting all the benefits of video games.

videogameasana – 10 secrets to make learning fun for our kids

 

Wow, looking at the website 50 Ways to Tell a Story is super overwhelming!  All the tools presented can be amazing if done right, but how to choose which tools to use, and where to find the time to learn them?

I can see these types of presentations being great in the classroom, engaging the students more than whiteboards, books, or even powerpoint.  In my school days, I remember it always being a treat or reward to watch any form of media during class time, how cool is it that we can now create learning opportunities for our students on whatever subject matter we choose!

Using them as a tool for the students to express themselves is exciting too, except I wonder about having enough lab time or enough access to computers during class time for the students to be able to create their projects?  However I guess my future students will be that much more tech-savvy than I am and able to pick it up in no time.

My goal for this course is to learn one tool from each category (ie storybook, slideshow, collage) to a point at which I am comfortable using it in a classroom setting.  I will complete this goal by using some of the tools for projects in other classes if possible, as well as developing them for use in my practicum.

 

BBC Walk on the Wild Side

 

Lab Safety Rap

Here I am, creating my first blog on a subject I don’t yet know anything about!  I’m super excited for this course in Educational Technology, although I am a little on the fence with my opinions of the role of technology in general.  I might even call myself a hippocrate in this regard – I own an Iphone, Mac, Smart TV, Kobo, digital camera, and many more little gadgets, yet I promote the idea of “unplugging” and I cringe when I read statistics about how many hours we spend with digital media.  Where did I read those statistics? Probably on my Mac, or in the news which I read or watched on my Iphone.  My point exactly.

I think I sometimes fall for the romantic notion of children (and adults as well) having more vibrant and meaningful life experiences when they have them face to face – or better yet, outdoors.  However it seems that recent advances in technology are making many digital experiences at least equally fulfilling as “organic” experiences.  An example that comes to mind is one of my favourites, Skype.  Being able to see and speak regularly with my god-daughter in Brazil is equally fulfilling as would be only seeing her once every year!

In my studies last semester I researched the Waldorf philosophy of educating, knowing that some of this philosophy is aligned with my thoughts.  I was shocked to discover that Waldorf schools do not have ANY form of technology in the classroom through Grade 8.  They believe that technology suffocates imagination and creativity.  They use former students who have gone on to become successful software engineers as proof that technology is not necessary for the elementary grades.  For another study I did, I read “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv (highly recommended reading).  In his book he cites a study that found little, if any, connection between technology and learning.  Huh.  I’d like to look into this assertion further to identify which educational technology they were studying.

The reality is that the problem isn’t digital media itself, but the balance – or lack thereof – we practice in using it.  It isn’t advantageous to do too much of any one thing, even if that thing is exercise (burn out, pulled muscles) or reading (strained eyes, lack of socializing).  Another argument is that we shouldn’t rely on technology for everything, we should know how to function without it if necessary.  Why??  How about a massive power outage, natural disaster, or just simply to remain human and not evolve into robots?!

So I guess I’m not really on the fence anymore.  I can see blogging, website building, internet research and networking as being crucial skills for every student to learn.  But don’t think I will stop promoting more eye contact, more outdoor learning, and less mindless digital entertainment.