TED Conversations

Jose Martinez

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What should the 21st century classroom look like? Could interactive technology provide solutions to the current system of education?

Can game technology be used to make the system of education more fun,engaging, and valuable?

How would such a “gameful” classroom be structured?

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?

Please join graduate students from the Rochester Institute of Technology along with game developers, educators, usability specialists, and others from the global community in an online forum as we attempt to solve this problem collaboratively.

Please share your thoughts at http://tinyurl.com/rit-edu and help us shape the future of education.

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    Feb 16 2012: Moreover, there is an interesting classroom in Sweden, featured in Good.

    http://www.good.is/post/is-sweden-s-classroom-free-school-the-future-of-learning?utm_content=prev-next&utm_medium=post-page-top :

    The traditional setup of school classrooms—straight rows of desks with accompanying chairs—doesn't do much to foster creativity or collaboration. Many experts have proposed redesigning classroom furniture, but a Swedish school system wants to take things a step further. Vittra, which operates 30 schools in Sweden, is seeking to ensure learning takes place everywhere on campus by eliminating classrooms altogether.
    • Feb 16 2012: i love this contribution and appreciate it a lot......... it is actually true, traditional classrooms are boring and even when the lectures could be interesting, the arrangement kills creativity and inventiveness...
    • Feb 17 2012: I agree. Also, I like the idea of a whole little village in the south of china, where every tree, every house, every field is a potential classroom. Learning is everywhere.
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    Feb 17 2012: We could use interactive, online technologies with sophisticated ratings systems embedded into them and combine them with 'real-world' or non-virtual action-oriented challenges. Grading systems would become obsolete and transcripts would be replaced with digital portfolios complete with links to non-virtual products, answers, and solutions. Games are already designed to 'teach', but they rarely result in a meaningful end-product or value-added service. The future of games in education should probably focus on moving games in this direction.
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      Feb 17 2012: Interesting idea... But wouldn't a rating system equate to a grading system? How about a more comprehensive, milestone driven grading system that unlocks new "levels"?
      • Feb 17 2012: A rating system isn't inherently bad. The particulars of its implementation and use result in how effective and how well it accords with positive human learning and behaviour.

        I think there's plenty of merit behind a system that combines peer feedback and accreditation weighting.

        e.g. if these thumbs up attached to these comments were weighted on the basis of an algorithm that could determine how much critical authority the person had. Kinda like Google does for links and searches.

        Then we could use that system for a community driven discussion learning method. Like we already do right now on these forums. Except with greater efficacy and less noise.
    • Feb 17 2012: Existing, archaic grading systems and obsessive, myopic focus n standardized testing should definitely get tossed. I like Daniel's suggestion of transcripts evolving into digital portfolios.
  • Feb 19 2012: I really appreciate your asking this question concerning this extremely important issue. Before we can touch the question, however, we should ask "What problems are we looking to solve?"

    To me, the greatest problem is a lack of personal engagement for the students, which has likely existed since the dawn of school, but now is getting progressively worse in North America. We know from the outstanding work of Sir Ken Robinson and so many others that what matters most to the success of the classroom is the quality of the teacher. Connecting with any mind - young minds most of all - is not some simpleton task, but one requiring creativity, empathy, communication, expertise, and herculean perseverance. As such, teachers ought to be the first step.

    Personally, I think we need to see more education in technology and games - not the other way around. Virtual reality is so often proposed as a software "fix" for the malaise of our real experience within the world. Students are disconnected because the system forces them live disembodied: from their own beliefs, concerns, sensitivities and dreams. A virtual world will only enhance this.

    Math on a computer is just as much of an abstraction as math on a page or a blackboard. Rather than frame a tool as an end in itself, why not relate it to their Real world so they can understand its purpose: actually let them USE the tools (i.e. using trig to design a house, French to order at a caf/e, etc.).

    For a more constructive reply, the promise of technology that excites me most is the possibility for it to connect students to the world in ways otherwise logistically inviable. Sir David Attenborough's "Planet Earth" series is a beautiful example of transforming any screen into window to the wide world.

    We ought not shape a world in the image of our escapes, but one in which we eschew them for the splendour of natural sunlight and the wellbeing of an embodied self.

    P.S. John Dewey's "Experience and Education" is worth the read.
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      Feb 20 2012: Aidan,
      Very good points! I think the idea is to wrap all of the concepts in a manner that is not reliant upon memorization and repetition, as it has been the norm when trying to introduce new technologies into the classroom in the past.

      I agree that using technology to drive the same old paradigm will result in failure, so my question is what principles of gaming can be used to turn education into an activity that would excite students? I know that if I am not engaged in a project at work, I don't even feel like getting out of bed but when I am dialed in, I can't wait to get to the office to continue my work.
  • Feb 17 2012: What I imagine for my children...
    A green environment with fields, and an organic farm, and some animals... a swimming pool, lakes, trees.... Basic material like fabrics, pieces of wood, stones, branches, shells... basic tools... And then also magnets, electronic parts, solar panels, all sorts of more sophisticated material. Access to 3d printers.
    Children wOuld be free to evolve outside depending on weather conditions. They could clim trees. They could have tree-houses with cushions inside. And trampolines, and trapezes...
    Every Child wpuld have a six sense. This will just change education I believe. They could interact with the real world alone or through their sixsense. They could Interact easily with other kids around the world.They coukd visit places virtually.
    They would be encouraged to work alone aswell as in groups, they would have always opportunities to show their work in front of part of the community or everybody in the communities, plus to other classes they meet online.
    Ages would be mixed.
    Crossing disciplines would be encouraged at all time.
    There would be a lot of freedom. No punishment, no promise of reward. Just a question..."are you proud of yourself?"
    My kids can't wait for the six sense to be commercialized!
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    Feb 16 2012: Hello. My name is Nikhil Goyal. I am a student at Syosset High School in New York and I am writing a book on education reform.

    We must reform the classroom, a relic from the Industrial Revolution. Classrooms are structured in educating kids by making them sit in desks, shut down, and hear the teacher passively. It is based on the fallacy that efficient delivery of content is equal to effective learning. Research demands a personalized education mode. Let’s design a 21st century classroom. Scientists have concluded that there exists a close correlation between human productivity and space design. Facebook and Google are your evidence.

    Prakash Nair, an architect and school planner, writes in Education Week that there is a conglomerate of design principles for tomorrow’s schools. (1) personalized; (2) safe and secure; (3) inquiry-based; (4) student-directed; (5) collaborative; (6) interdisciplinary; (7) rigorous and hands-on; (8) embodying a culture of excellence and high expectations; (9) environmentally conscious; (10) offering strong connections to the local community and business; (11) globally networked; and (12) setting the stage for lifelong learning. A revolution is brewing!
    • Feb 17 2012: Thanks, Nikhil. I really enjoyed reading your post. I am deeply impressed with your insight and dedication to solving this critical issue and look forward to reading your book.
  • Feb 16 2012: I think that the future of the classroom, which I define as within 10 years time, lies in the hands of our students. Teachers should be facilitators, not dictators. As an educator myself, I try and give my students great freedoms to express themselves in ways that allow them to access the materials as best they can. This is my sixth year teaching, and one of the things that I do so differently from many of my colleagues is that I am not in a rush to cover a huge amount of material. I am more concerned with creating learners who are interested and invested in their education, and who can master the skills necessary to be successful at both education and life: critical thinking and analysis, constructive reflection, the ability to socially collaborate to a true purpose, among others. I think we need to start, from the bottom up, teaching our students to be in charge of their education. They should want to be learning and teaching others. They should desire to explore and think freely about topics that engage them in ways that traditional education cannot. This is not to say we should completely do away with the things we do now. I just think that education has to be willing to evolve along with society, and that involves a culture of change that both students and teachers seem to fight every step of the way. I think having access to technology is a big part of this, but people in history were able to progress as learners without technology. It is all about the intrinsic value that we all place upon education being tapped into inside the actual classroom. No students should ever be in school and be unable to answer the question "What do you get out of being here every day?"
    • Feb 16 2012: >but people in history were able to progress as learners without technology.

      Not that this isn't true... but when you contemplate that language is itself a form of technology... it places into perspective how natural it is for humans to use tools and technology. We should embrace it, as part of who and what we are, and not shy away from it. It is the understanding of the flaws, foibles and remarkable things that technology can do for us that will allow us to use it in wisdom after all.
      • Feb 16 2012: Oh I completely agree with you, and I did not mean to imply that we shouldn't use the Technologies we have to encourage learning and education. The resources at our disposal today are so vast, and the amount of things that students are capable of doing with these resources should not be diminished. I suppose that the point that I was really trying to make is that, in the 21st century classroom, it isn't going to be about how MUCH technology we have, but rather students being able to use technology to its utmost potential in order to facilitate learning and creation. Students need to grasp the deeper nuances of why technology as a tool is so useful for critical thinking and analysis, without allowing the use of that tech to become the main focus to the detriment of actual learning and understanding. Too many teachers use technology without fully understanding its signifigance, and so their students too are not being taught why the technology is such a useful tool
        • Feb 16 2012: That's a fair point to make. But what I was intimating at is that technology intertwines itself not just into our lives... but into our cognition. Like language, our brain wraps its neurological network around all these elements in our lives and assimilates them and uses these features that are stable within our environment to continue learning and enhancing that neurological network.

          In respect to what we're discussing... I think we're pretty much on the same page - you're not saying anything that I would disagree with - simply that I would like to reiterate the importance of taking advantage of technology and incorporating it fully into the way we learn and concieve of the world. The future will bring more progress, not less - so that technology, like language, and agriculture, etc before it, will be a stable substrate for us to build our lives on top of.

          Of course the application and use of this technology, as any technology requires wisdom... but with discussions like this happening... I'm confident that we're on the right track.
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    Feb 22 2012: On behalf of myself and Daniel Hettrick, I would like to thank all of you for your great ideas and the great discussion that ensued. :)
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    Feb 20 2012: A GamefulClassroom? It sure will depend on the gameful life sourrounding it. The Classrooms today were invented in a certain social context, in a certain need of workers qualification and in the former family structures.

    Today the context of school has changed already; gamification will influence and re-arrange large parts of our work life and leisure as well. Just imagine you buy a car by gaming it first....?!

    Maybe it would be good to learn more about games changing society in general today - to estimate what will be possible in classrooms; at the moment it is often the other way round , at least in Germany. Games are not viewed positive by adults at all - and they do all to prevent that games play a role in classrooms. Many still believe games is another (inactive) way of TV. So - how do you teach adults about games first?

    We did an interview with Gülicher, Head of PR at Nintendo, in Germany last year on Gamification. Maybe it is of help in our context ? http://www.2010lab.tv/en/blog/life-game-gamification

    Good luck Jose - I believe in games and would love a more gamesful classroom; it would unlock a lot of creativity and activity in the children.
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    Feb 20 2012: I have no doubt that technology will play a critical role in the future of the classroom. As others have mentioned, it facilitates the shift from teacher-centric to student-centric education, as it gives learners access to far more information than any teacher could possess. It certainly enables students to learn on their own and pursue projects without relying on the teacher to dispense knowledge.

    On the other hand--and I say this having worked in Educational Technology for over 30 years now--I think it's something of a false promise. That is, you can structure a curriculum and a classroom so that it promotes student-based, project-oriented learning without any advanced technology at all. The technology isn't the key. It's the design. With well-designed curricula and lessons, students can participate in engaging, fun activities regardless of the technology involved. In fact, quite often, the technology actually distances learners. PowerPoint is a perfect example. When it first appeared, it looked like the perfect vehicle for conveying information. But before long, it turned into the perfect way to bore the hell out of people. For learners of all ages, what really seems to be engaging is something they can touch. That's the opposite of watching something on a screen.

    I think we also tend to get a little dreamy in our classroom ideals. While it might seem like a great solution to give all the kids iPads and set them off on exploratory projects, we have to remember that students--all the way up through college--aren't always the most motivated characters around. Give them technology and they won't necessarily spend their time reading Wikipedia. They'll just screw off. The teacher still has to play an integral role in assigning tasks and controlling the classroom. It's easy to forget that the teacher isn't responsible for the education of only the motivated students. The teacher is responsible for doing the best he or she can for all the students.
  • Feb 20 2012: I personally believe in the idea of a "flipped" classroom (see Salman Khan's TED Talk) so that teachers actually have time during the day to interest students with fun things that apply the learning to real life. This interest could most certainly be sparked by technology or really anything that students find interesting.

    I believe that teachers should be there to just excite students about learning. Only this allows students to realize their potential instead of just going through the motions that the modern educational system creates. I am personally more inspired by a 20 minute TED Talk than six hours of teacher instruction a day at my high school, and I personally think that this is a sad reality. So many students get turned off by learning because it's frankly just boring, and they think that all learning is like this. Teachers need to be there to show that this is simply not the case.
  • Feb 20 2012: I believe that we can use gaming technology to make education more fun, engaging and thereby making it valuable to the learner. The students of today expect to find technology at every turn, even the ones who only know it exist desire to have access to it. I could see science as an excellent way to add the "gaming technology" into the classroom. O the fun of creating an experiment and watching the outcome without the fear of blowing the classroom up. Move over fume hoods of days gone by and hello to protons and neutrons fighting it out to see where we end up in an experiment. By allowing the student to manipulate their learning experience they in turn gain knowledge. I know from personal experience that the lessons I've learned best were the ones that I was actively engaged in.
    • Feb 20 2012: Hey Susan,
      Speaking as a high school student in an advanced chemistry course, I have participated in both real life labs and labs on the computer. Honestly, I learned so much more information from the the real labs than the simulated ones because I felt like the technology was giving me distance from the actual lab. Virtual reality is never as exciting as actual reality, and only excitement engages students in the modern day.
      • Feb 20 2012: To a degree, excitement is a function of novelty. Given that playing with actual chemicals and chemical reactions lie outside the scope of most high school students lives (while the use of computers for a massive array of applications lie well within), it's easy to understand why physical experimentation would be exciting and beneficial.

        That said, the logical compromise is to take advantage of technology's ability to provide high quality pre-recordings and cheap and easy iteration (i.e. you can mix many more chemicals virtually, repeatably, than you could with actual chemicals)... while combining the high quality, but cheap repetition provided by virtualized experiences with the contrast of real experiments - allowing the student to understand the consequences of chemical reactions in the context of reality, while also capturing the minutiae of learning that is generally otherwise implicit and uncapturable (e.g. the constant awareness of danger of handling various chemicals).
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          Feb 20 2012: Virtual and Non Virtual LABs - they are different and will stay different and allow to learn quite diverse and partly opposing lessons.

          We should not only think about to take the best out of each learning surrounding, but also consider how the inter-action of a virtual lab / gaming AND non-virtual meetings can create synergies.

          We had a lot of very good experience to bring virtual groups & their aims into real-life projects: this transformation was a high motivation for the participants - we did this however in the field of urban labs; urban change through online art experiments, which were then exhibited in the urban situation they researched: http://www.2010lab.tv/en/video/been-out-vol-1-0

          The idea was to bring virtual & non-virtual / digital & real labs in a positive, self-re-enforcing cycle...
  • Feb 19 2012: Hello Jose!
    Your topic really excites me. I want to sketch some brief idea which came to my mind during thinking about your questions.
    Well, certainly, game technology can make education more fun, also engaging but I am not so sure about its value. It probably depends on how well it would be balanced. I want to draw one example. From my experience, a lot of people around me said that education is too abstract. Concrete example should be mathematics. Actually only few students in every class enjoy mathematics (I am speaking about primary and secondary schools). And if you ask them why, they answer that because they cannot touch something out there. And this is the place where game technologies can do really big job. I mean, for example, you can use some virtual reality where numbers and equations and other stuff would be visualized and connected to some real life situations and things in our everyday lives. When teacher is speaking let's say about mathematics (and physics) of combustion engine, pupils aided with some virtual reality glasses would be exploring appropriate parts in real time. And I am sure that it is possible to use it in more abstract mathematics and also in other fields of studies.
    In sum, I think that game technologies can make education really better, especially in situations where words are too abstract and it is pretty hard to imagine some applications and so forth.
    So, this was my modest idea for your theme. I hope it is not superficial and useless.
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      Feb 20 2012: Marek,

      Thank you for your kind comments and great ideas. I think that using technology to motivate students would be a good start to motivating them but I think that the bigger question is how can we turn education into a game? How could we teach students to not be sad to go into school but rather be interested in continuing their tasks because they are fun, like games are, and because their goal is not to learn but rather to move to a "new level" in understanding? :)
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        Feb 20 2012: Great question Jose !
        "How could we teach students to not be sad to go into school but rather be interested in continuing their tasks"?

        But most topics in school or university students do not identify as "THEIR" task. This is a major bottle neck - so first question might be: how do we motivate students to make a topic "their case" / their task"?

        You could crowd-source / student-source some parts of the curriculum? And could do this by technology and games?

        One last thought on "having fun": I realized in my university teaching that students heavily engage in topics and tasks - even if they are no fun, involve long working hours and obstacles. Given they identifited the task as important to them, more precise: to their values.

        so you might ask: how can math help a student tackle a real life problem he has? How can can be part of a game? I am afraid my questions do not make it easier, but I hope they give you some new ways to research.
      • Feb 20 2012: Hi Jose,
        many thanks!
        Well, my point was that some part of process of turning to the education as more fun is through modern technologies, which we use to better visualization of connections between education (which would be sometimes uninteresting) and their real lives (which they live and have the biggest value for them). I mean, if they will see that they are not learning something useless but highly important, then it is very probable that they will really enjoying it.
        And what about your question how to skip to the education as a game? Well, my idea is to look at what is the most interesting aspect of games. I think that it is perhaps something like big integration into the games. So we may take this aspect and put it into education. And If we do this I think then we are on a right way to solve this part of problem.
        In short, my idea here is that through studying of "addictive" aspect of games we can teach a lot about how to implement some improvements into our education. Unfortunately I actually have no more ideas how to do this really big and important step.
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    Feb 19 2012: I would like to show you a classroom in a very small town (population: 19.000) in Georgia. It is not a show room or something, the town is even far from the capital city Tbilisi. You can see it here http://cyxymu.livejournal.com/1124301.html or more photos: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.347179398645781.83665.260603653970023&type=3.

    When I first saw it, I said ok, looks nice, they are all about technology and online... But where is the outside world? I don't think this classroom is really meant to stimulate any creativity, maybe it's a way to keep kids focused :).
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      Feb 20 2012: Very interesting concept but I fear that they might just be using technology to teach in the same manner as if they had a simple blackboard and chalk and textbooks instead of computers. Technology is only a tool if it is used by a skilled hand to innovate. But it seems like a step in the right direction ;)
  • Feb 17 2012: I believe the 21st century classroom should include more interactive technology and multiplayer educational gaming applicaions in order to teach these children of today. The problem with implementing this system is that our government controlled end of grade tests would not accurately measure student learning. It is not to say that students would not pass the EOG tests because of ignorance of the curriculum but rather the way the tests are constructed. These tests require teachers to teach "test taking strategies", how to take multiple choice tests, and other non curriculum based instruction. If the students were assessed solely on their content knowledge then the 21st century way of teaching would be successful. As a teacher today, I see the conflict between traditional teaching methods and today's learners. Change is inevitable and when our classrooms become more interactive our students will begin to flourish again.
    • Feb 17 2012: Donna - I completely agree that "end of grade tests would not accurately measure student learning". What do you think will become the new measure of the effectiveness of a student's mastery over a subject?
    • Feb 18 2012: I think the problem is not how tests work, but how they are applied. The fact that the government controls those tests make them mandatory, in a way or another, which causes some negative effects like the ones already mentioned (especially that thing about "test taking strategies"). And the purpose of that test is probably not for self-evaluation, but rather to compare them to each other, which is not good for their development.
  • Feb 17 2012: Well there will be a big difference in the instructional methods and learning practices btwn children and adults - something the TESL/TEFL publishing community seems oblivious to , and won't fix.
    Kids have a particular need for socially interactive tech/IT - not simply Tech interaction.
  • Feb 17 2012: That reminds me...

    1) Another point of including games in the education system should be to teach kids to fail. Fail and recover. The current system denies the chance of failing, and makes recovering unreasonably difficult, expecting them to avoid failing at all costs. This only makes kids overly stressed and deprives them from the ability to recover, as they could never learn it in the first place.

    2) And kids should have more contact with the dirtier side of the real world. Not that they should be forced to watch porn, but at least do not make too much fuss about it whenever they ask. As far as I know (and I don't know much), kids tend to give more value to things, the harder you try to hide them. We should be preparing them to face some dirtiness, not expecting them to be "pure and innocent" their whole lives. Teach them properly, and they should not get tainted even in the face of the dirtiest thing on Earth. If you don't teach it yourself, someone else will, and maybe not as well as you would like.

    Actually, both items are about letting them try the real world and learn how to handle it properly. I see some people trying to keep kids away from all kinds of harm, even enforcing that by law, all the while not teaching them to fend themselves against any of that harm. I am concerned that future generations will not have enough time to learn their maturity after 18 (when their parents finally allow them some freedom) and before 18 (after which the real world expects a lot of maturity from them).
  • Feb 16 2012: If you're thinking "game" and "class room" you're in the wrong century and dealing from the wrong deck. To be able to grasp what needs to guide change you must accept that education in some ways is actually holding back and harming--that there is dysfunction that must be turned into ideal function first before attempting reform. Every effort must be taken to identify dysfunction and replace it with successor function that students and their families can judge to be desirable.

    The best reform theories today favor autonomy too. But no one has taken it so far as to say that the new knowledge of how the mind grows its own capacity, called "neuroplasticity", demands autonomy. Thus "authority" must become a new negotiable currency and not the instant totality it has long been.

    Education must cease neglect of social development as well and be "spaced" throughout the entire life spectrum to become the motivation that puts horse in front of the cart of knowledge development. Motivation by "threat of consequence" must yield to motivation by determination of personal relevance. All "rooms" and possible "game" theories must support have these fundamentals behind them or the whole effort will be a laughing stock for the others who do replace dysfunction with ideal function. I have many insights, models, definition of new language and concepts to conventionalize an education reform driver that doesn't accept failure in any way. E-mail me if you're interested.
  • Feb 16 2012: At my school, we often get computer based lessons in our IT block. Despite the fact that computers offer so many different potential dimensions to lessons, many pupils regard these lessons as informal and unimportant. I think many people see the computer (obviously the internet in particular) as more personal resource, designed with them in mind to pursue whatever they want. By putting it in a classroom environment, I believe this resource is somewhat confined, and interest is lost as pupils look to explore the more interesting aspects of the internet, more tailored to themselves than the classwork.

    However, one recent addition to the classrooms has been Smart-boards (not sure how familiar people are with these?) which effectively combine whiteboards and computers. One benefit of this is the expanse of knowledge available in class: a teacher's broad understanding teamed with a worldwide database doesn't leave many questions unanswered. The interactive element is also fun in problem solving and sharing ideas. Smart-boards are the future
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      Feb 17 2012: Very interesting point! :) Yes, a teacher should be definitely involved in the conversation because of their "broad understanding". How else could we leverage this "broad understanding" with student's natural curiosity to increase the engagement of the students?
  • Feb 16 2012: There have been some interesting talks about gamification, in which I have found some interesting ideas:

    - Simply turning something into a game will not help. The game must be designed to be interesting, it will not be interesting simply because it was turned into a game. Whatever you do, be careful not to let educators or parents take control of the project (they should help, but they must not take over), as they might carry some flawed views and overdo the educational aspect of these games without enough care for the psychological stuff.

    - Based on some ideas from the Self-Determination Theory, people are more intrinsically motivated if they feel mostly competent and autonomous. That basically means you should avoid imposing any game, especially the educative types, in your educational system. As soon as the kids are forced to play your game, they will find it boring, no matter how much fun it might actually be. Also, these games must be very well balanced, because too easy and too hard are equally boring.

    - Following this idea, knowledge and values should be passed without obligation. You should set a good example, not simply push some beautifully meaningless values or knowledge. Give them the choice to be good, show them how it is done if they show any interest, and show them that they can also do it as well as you do.

    - And as was commented before, we must review the set of skills we have been trying to teach. We do not use 1% of all the things we are *forced* to learn. Most people simply forget all that unused stuff, and many will not have learned to become curious and self-teaching. Actually, most people will learn the exact opposite, because it was so traumatic and worthless in the past.

    We should be learning happiness, willpower and respect before quantum physics. But that is not the way things are going, as I see it.
  • Feb 16 2012: i believe gaming should be a long extra - curriculum that would be related to teachings from different topics..... i say long because, some schools have tried this, and they did this during break periods of school hours which only lasts nothing more than 30 minutes(primary and secondary schools in Nigeria) and it was only fun but not educational
  • Feb 16 2012: I've been giving this topic some consideration lately. A quick and dirty summary:

    1. Exploit record and playback lectures by creating high quality interactive lectures that involve graphics, hyperlinks, quizes. Basically, take what Mr. Khan is doing over at his academy and amp it up to the Nth degree.

    2. Use established game feedback mechanics - achievements, rewards, social comparison to incentivize behaviour. Pace it regularly, create currencies and larger rewards. Maybe even combine it with an avatar representation system to allow students to express their achievements and individuality.

    3. Encourage open forum discussion on topics and subject matter - this is where avatars are handy (i.e. students can see other students avatars and get a quick and dirty, but fun assessment of their academic accomplishments). Also plays off community self help mechanisms. Encourage activity and participation among multiple grade levels, while enforcing a strict set of rules of conduct.

    4. Abolish the concepts of year groups. Focus class sizes around the kind of community group size and dynamics humans have evolved to cope with... i.e. 100-150 people villages, varying ages and skill levels - capable adults caring for and teaching youngsters, and children interacting with more mature children. Have multiple adults in the groups - around 4-8 adults per 100-150 student group, and they are used to settle disputes, and lead group activities, moderate discussion, etc.

    5. Where possible, develop games that incorporate multiple elements of thinking and learning into a cohesive package. Look towards stuff like Civilization, and The Sims for a starting point - incorporate more educational appropriate mechanisms and opportunities.
  • Feb 16 2012: A few days ago, I saw an aticle in a newspaper. It was about a situation betweena mon and her kid in their home.
    She gave a book as gift to her child,and then he threw out the book suddenly after he touched it for short time. That article described he was handling with the book like i-pad. I just was suprised when I saw the story.
    I concern about my future's chilren. Let you think aout the situation.
    • Feb 17 2012: Haha! Sorry! I am laughing!
      I have young kids. I am happy that they like all kind of books. But I do agree with my children: interactive books are just cool! My kids like books with 3d content. They also like to open windows in it. And they like the I-pad too.
      I feel a bit sorry that this child was not creative enough to at least imagine that her book was interactive... That is a pity.introducing the computer too early in childhood might not be the best idea. But, nothing wrong for me with quality interactive books on I-pad...
  • Feb 16 2012: As a teacher in North Carolina, USA, I think is necessary to have a full restructuring of the classroom. I would like to see more student collaboration with more PBL focused on core curriculum ideas. I know that the use of technology is paramount in preparing our student for participation in a global society. I also realize that the implementation of these ideas is an endeavor that cannot be undertaken just by educators. It must be a coordinated effort by all educational institutions, governments, and communities.
  • Feb 16 2012: Yeah, but it need long time to carry out this plan. It will cost a lot of money, and some area, country can't afford it.
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      Feb 17 2012: I agree, but if we could start from scratch with no limitations with regards to funding and curriculum, what would that potentially look like? It's amazing how far good ideas will go. :)
    • Feb 17 2012: @james - Do you think it's possible that in a Friedman the-world-is-flat sense, perhaps the developing nations might be quicker to adopt a modern system of education since they don't don't have an ineffective legacy structure already in place as developed nations do?
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    Feb 15 2012: Rather than focusing on what the classroom looks like, why not focus on the content taught? The curriculum of most public schools more closely resembles a bad joke to me. I believe we would do well to move back into trivium-based and quadrivium-based education. You can get started looking into that here:

    http://isi-ias.blogspot.com/2012/02/trivium-quadrivium-cliffs-notes.html

    http://isi-ias.blogspot.com/2012/01/logic-fallacies-and-trivium.html

    The first link has great notes and gives a good overview. The second link has a great video and useful links.
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      Feb 15 2012: That's a good point about the classroom but it was meant as a metaphor. The classroom itself is more of the all-encompassing idea of education. The way it is laid out now is such that all students look forward to the teacher , the teacher being the source of knowledge, rather than to face each other which would mean that students cannot collaborate. We are social creatures and paying attention to one person for hours at the time does not work any more. :)
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        Feb 16 2012: My opinion:

        To make the teacher "the source of knowledge" is to make the teacher as an authority figure; this action imposes an authoritarian epistemology on the minds of our young. Authority cannot be replicated or studied. This is exactly why we need critical thought and we can get there through trivium education, which would expose our children to epistemology and they would understand where authority -- and it's figures -- place among the several sources of knowledge (epistemology).

        Besides, why would you want to set up a dynamic where an authority figure passes knowledge to a nest of squawking baby birds? This is not education; it is training. True educators show people how to unfold their hearts, minds, etc. by giving them tools e.g. critical thinking skills, research skills, analytic skills. The effective teacher (educator) is not a source of knowledge, but a guide -- paid for by taxpayer money or private money -- to show your children how these tools work. The children should find knowledge themselves and not become dependent on anyone for any reason unless genetic limitations prevent this.
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          Feb 16 2012: Absolutely agree with you. I just meant that we need to change away from a teacher-as-knowledge source paradigm into something else. The classroom should no longer be the realm of the teacher, but it should be the realm of teachers AND students. :)