I really enjoyed all the reading assignments for this week and the video on Digital Media – New Learners of the 21st Century. They have given me a renewed energy on education and learning, a renewed interest in getting involved in the fight against standardization of the educational system towards a system that embraces change and is ultimately centered around the learner.
Through conversations with some of my colleagues, oftentimes what some express as the reasons not to go into academia involve the frustrations with the current state of education and how much it has been influenced by politics and a previous cultural setting to adopt an industrial model. But instead of feeling discouraged by the status quo, we should feel empowered and even more motivated to join “the fight worth fighting” as one educator referred to it in the video. It was very inspiring to see all the educators, from different parts of the country, come up with creative and engaging ways of teaching their subjects. I particularly liked the project Reacting to the Past presented in the article by Mark C. Carnes which teaches history through role playing and allows them to develop it and experience it by themselves. This would certainly equip students with a long-term understanding of the deeper issues instead of being asked to temporarily remember certain facts and dates. The article paid tribute to its title by setting my mind on fire. It got me thinking about how such a creative approach could be adopted in some of the subjects related to my field or even how I could better communicate what I do to a broad audience; I think that to this day, a few members of my family still do not quite understand what I do.
Lastly, the book by James Paul Gee on “What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy” sparked my interest not only to read the rest of the book beyond the introduction chapter provided, but also to play some video games again. I used to play video games in different consoles growing up (I shared one with my sister, and we used to play at our friends’ and cousins’ as well) and some of the best memories of spending time together with friends and family involved video games. Now that I have read all the positive effects it can have on mental agility and how maybe one day doctors will prescribe video games instead of pills to treat certain disorders, it makes me even more inclined to play them again. Dr. Adam Gazzaley has given a few talks and interviews on his research using video games to improve brain health which seems pretty compelling.