715_five_research_driven_education_trends_at_work_in_classrooms__katrina_schwartz_It’s probably not too much of a shocker that I chose a data-infused session on gaming and learning outcomes for my first #SXSWedu 2014 session; especially if there’s the promise of delving into the disconnect between research and practice, with national data from the Gates Foundation, Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, and Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up Survey results. Considering over 3.4 million survey responses since 2003, not surprisingly Project Tomorrow found a striking disconnect between how students use technology while living and learning outside school, versus how technology is “served up” to them in schools. What did they find as the student ideal view of digital learning? That it is:
  • socially-based (involving communication & collaborate with peers, experts, teachers, others)
  • untethered (not bound by location, time, person, tool)
  • digitally-rich (with numerous resources for relevancy, and context) 
As is often the case, the kids know what’s up. These are great criteria for not only digital learning, but all  learning. Our current digital tools and content and media allow and enhance communication and collaboration, freedom, and information access in ways that weren’t as possible before. And the playing-field of access is being leveled, with opportunities and availability not just coming from teachers or parents, but with nearly all students being able to master their own domains (Note: “nearly all” is still not quite enough. Another note: this is not a reference to Seinfeld).
Naturally the idea that “technology can greater allow us to reach some other purpose” supports my own thinking (“it’s not what technology, it’s why technology”). Technology is a means to an end, not the end itself. As noted from someone in the session audience: “The goal is not ‘how do we get more teachers to use tape recorders…’” The why technology question, or why any teaching tool, resource, process, or program is a critical one, as it leads us into “What do I want to DO?”… What are my goals, why teach this, why learn this, how does it all fit in? That’s what we need to be concerned with in the technology of teaching and learning.
Other interesting tidbits from this session:
  • Promise Tomorrow found that over 50% of students are playing games for learning at school, with both boys and girls playing equally. 
  • The Cooney Center surveyed 700 teachers who use tech, asking How do you select games? They found almost half go to other teachers for recommendations for games to use in schools —only 15% go to reviews. (My take: Yikes! another example the need/opportunity for evidence-based practice in schools).
  • Games with built in assessment:  The Promise Tomorrow survey reports nearly half of teachers say built-in assessment (embedded into game play) actually changes their instructional practices (Hooray!!!)
Okay, lots more going on at the conference and in my brain. But let’s get this posted first! Thanks for reading.
Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop (publications galore!) http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/publications/

One thought on “Listen Up! Speak Up! Game Up!

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