I just finished reading the interview articles with John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas and it was great. I was actually excited about what I was reading and a few times said “YESSSS” out loud and made my 1 year old look at me like I lost my mind.
I am very interested in gaming for learning. I am the mother that does not discourage video games. I have a time limit but I don’t discourage because I can see the value of them. What I see kids get out of video games is problem solving and persistance. They will try and try and try to get to the next level and will keep trying to figure out what they are doing wrong until they get it. You don’t see that happen with math problems at the kitchen table, do you? I think if done right gaming and learning can be an effective way to teach.
One example of learning by play that happens in our house is LeapFrog products. I strongly encourage grandparents, aunts and uncles to purchase LeapFrog toys for our kids when special occasions roll around. My three year old knows his alphabet in order to sing the song but he also knows his alphabet by looking at letters in random order. He can also recognize his numbers by sight up to around 20. He is actually learning to spell and can spell the word spell, stop, yes, no, and his name. I’m impressed because I don’t spend much time working with him. Sounds horrible right, I know but he has these toys that sing and light up, one he has looks like a Blackberry. It has letters that when he pushes them they tell him what they are and light up. He thinks its cool and I feel that he’s getting enough education in the toys without me making him sit down and look at flash cards or other formal learning documents. He’ll get enough of that when he gets to school.
Another “toy” that he uses is my Asus Tablet. At 3 he can turn it on, find the button for Angry Birds and play the game. I love the tablet technology because the interface makes it easy for a child that is young to be able to use it. Why would I let my 3 year old play Angry Birds? Same reason I let my 14 year old play his Xbox. Because he’s learning and he doesn’t even realize that he is.
From Rovio Entertainment’s webpage, “Angry Birds features hours of gameplay, challenging physics-based castle demolition, and lots of replay value. Use logic, skill, and brute force to crush the enemy.” What he sees as a cool game that I let him play on my tablet I see as education and exercise of his mind.
I was excited to see this blog the other day while looking for resources for another class: Digital Kindergarten this teacher has iPads for all of her kindergarten classroom. I think that it is a great headstart to the technology that they will be using as they get older and a breath of fresh air amongst the Teach to the Test crowd.