TED Conversations

Juliette LaMontagne

Founder & Managing Director, Breaker


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What are the advantages/disadvantages of learning models that exist outside of traditional educational institutions?

With the growing number of alternative learning pathways and opportunities to better serve the needs of individual students, what's working best? And what can we learn from the failures and tensions? Where and how have the models in the margins effectively disrupted the status quo?

I'll add to the conversation my current initiative, Breaker - driving alternative learning and social innovation by mobilizing interdisciplinary teams of young creative collaborators to design product solutions to global challenges.

This Live Conversation will start on Feb. 15, 2012, 1:00pm EST/ 10:00am PST


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    Feb 15 2012: I am a student on Human Computer interaction and are currently working on a project that deals with collaboration and the game-ification of education. I would love to get your perspective on how education. Specifically:

    Can game technology be used to make the system of education more fun, engaging, and valuable?
    How would such a “gameful” classroom be structured?

    If you want to participate in our discussion, here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/rit-edu

    How do we begin to implement this new system? What would the 1, 5, and 10 year plans be for creating a new, more engaging system of education?

    Thank you,
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      Feb 15 2012: game-based learning is a rapidly expanding market in the UK - take a look at I am Learning www.iamlearning.com - real potential with handheld devices too and development of screen technologies.....
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        Feb 15 2012: Franco, that is a great lecture on gamification of education.. I will definitely use this in our research.
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      Feb 15 2012: Gaming is a great example of learning that has disrupted the mainstream. There are dangers here, for sure. But if we're going to create indiv learning environments online, they should use the principles of game design.
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        Feb 15 2012: yes, lots of focus on immersive game play.
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        Feb 15 2012: Everyone says gaming is great for education, but WHY!? I have my own theories, largely informed by psychology and a recent New Media Workshop I attended on "Gaming and Theories of Play."
      • Feb 15 2012: Here is one online educational website that I at Borderless Educations, built for a company. We can deliver thousands of those and tailor them with your own brand or content. www.berewarding.com

        This platform is what we offer, where you learn in a fun way, share what you know so others can teach, and we pay you each time you learn.

        Right now we are scaling up to have thousands of classrooms, which will all share a database so you can "tap into" current knowledge. Be sure to contact me if you'd like an online classroom for your students, kids, or programs.
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        Feb 15 2012: I think that the link provided by Franco Phang provides some great examples on how gaming can be used to increase engagement by students. Engagement, or lack thereof, being the greatest cause of student school failure in the current educational paradigm, in my opinion
      • Feb 15 2012: I agree. Our biggest challenge is driving acceptance and adoption, and a 'target achievement' and 'level' based design, using some aspects of game design theory would be fantastic. We've been working on developing some models here at University18 (an indian online university initiative that works with about 6000 student worldwide), and have realized that driving self study using this approach works!
        So when you say 'individual learning environment' Juliette, I get THAT!
        Personally i'd like to build in interactivity into the system, rather than depend upon the 'crowd' to provide it.
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        Feb 15 2012: I think gaming is just one aspect of education - like anything else we offer as educators - it is just one of the tools we can employ. If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer then every problem is going to look like a nail. Teachers should be given the freedom to use their expertise and professional judgement to draw the best out of students and lead them towards a lifelong passion for learning. Having a variety of tools available to achieve this is heading towards nirvana......
      • Feb 15 2012: There is something to be said for focusing on how they want to learn vs how we decide they should be learning. How do we capitalize on nature and not subsume it?
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        Feb 15 2012: If anyone wants to participate in our discussion, here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/rit-edu. Your perspectives would be greatly appreaciated. :)
    • Feb 15 2012: Hi, currently Borderless Educations operates a "game" like learning platform which is free and open for others to use to teach and or learn. Is this something you're interested in? We also reward education gamers with points which are converted to $ for scholarships, books, fundraisers.
    • Feb 15 2012: I think this concept was solidified when the first "Little Professor" Texas Instrument calculator came out.

      What the "gaming" concept provides is the a sense of (level) accomplishment instead of just a letter grade. I think the Leap Pad and other electronics companies have seen vast improvement when learning is turned into a video game. I'm concerned about the bastardization of it when it's tied into corporate characters (such as Disney and Pokemon, etc..). However, it's a catch-22, it's those character that allow the child to be open to learning and using that particular video game because of the cartoon character affiliation. That is what worries me a bit. But if it's Micky, Piccachu, Batman, or any character, if it does a better job teach my kids math, science, literature, or english, then i could care less about the presentation as long as the goal of learning is achieved.
    • Feb 15 2012: I'm honestly not sold on the idea of learning via computer. I think some children - and adults - do better with real interaction, demonstrations, and hands-on learning. That said, making it less dry is certainly the way to go.
      • Feb 15 2012: The fact that almost every job today involves using a computer, it has become a necessity for students to learn how to use them, to learn how to learn using them....don't you think so too?
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      Feb 15 2012: Would point out that gaming doesn't need to be a digital experience to be effective.

      http://thegameofvillage.org/ shows the utility applying math and social studies in a real-time/non-virtual game environment.
    • Feb 15 2012: Gaming can definitely make learning more fun. Without a doubt.

      The real question however should be whether gaming can be used to teach long-term qualities such as being able to make yourself learn at a job when it would be no longer "fun".

      One must remember games are extrinsic motivators and they may or may not teach students qualities such as grit and perseverance.

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