By this point anyone who reads what I have to say knows that I am a big fan of learning through Video Gaming. Last week I was asked to give a lecture on Political Goods and State Failure. After I finished I was talking with my friend who is the Instructor of the class, and we came to the realization that playing any of the Sim-City© or Cid Meier® Games could teach a student the concept far better than we could.
In those games you have to have people to control fires, police the streets, provide clean water, ect. I wish I had thought to mention this during the class, but it only hit me after. I would have treasured their input. I did find a website that is not the most respected, but that does agree with me. The link is below:
Yesterday I went to the police department to pick up a report. I was very surprised that I could not go into the building. I remember being able to access every public building as a child in school. I have been in the White House and the U. S. Capitol, but I could not go in the Christiansburg Police Department. This made me really think about access.
In a class I T.A. on Interest Groups we spend a lot of time talking about access. You cannot lobby a politician without access to them, I could not get the documents I needed without access, and it can be very hard to learn when lacking access as well. I learned a ton by being able to walk into some of our nations most important buildings, and I hope that never changes.
I wish that learning was easier to access. You have to be in Washington DC to do it, but anyone can walk into our national museums. You can learn so much by simply being able to go in, but until just recreantly you actually had to go into the physical museum. Today technology is opening up so much learning and allowing access to so many people. Thanks to new inventions there are more and more opportunities to access learning.
I am very excited about this progression, but I have one nagging fear. Yesterday when I went to the Police Station to get a copy of a repot I did not have access to something that prior to technology I would have been able to access. My father sells real estate and I have heard him complain about how much harder computers have made his job. He told me that when he started a contract was a single page; just one piece of paper. Today he tells me that they are approaching twenty pages. As much as I love technology I always try to work for simplicity. I am excited to discover how to mesh the two in my teaching. I want to know when to ask for something written in pencil and when to ask for it to be published to the web. I want to use technology to add access and not let it be a barrier.
I was talking with a reporter friend about a business card (for a handyman) that said “Call an u can save $$!” She was rather bothered by the fact that the person with the card had used an over and and u over you. She did not even get into the use of two “$” rather than the use of the word money, but she was very offended by the card. She explained that words and communication were her life, and that it made her upset to see people not using the English language correctly.
Before becoming a GEDI I would have agreed with her 100%, but I did not. I told her that we were behind the times and needed to realized that with new technology comes new forms of communication. I cannot wait until I am over an entire class and afforded the opportunity to teach this. I personally do not like texting, but I really want to give an assignment that asks for it. I know that part of what scares me with my own thesis is the formality of it. Maybe we are doing students a disservice when we ask them to write formally, or we could be doing them a favor. I know I have read a lot of cover letters in my lifetime and that I never hired a single person who used “don’t!” Learning is so much more than what we make it. Jobs aside, could we be stifling learning with formality?
I have another good friend who works with special education students in the local schools. She love to quote famous thinkers about how a hammer does not work as a knife or vise versa. How many brains are we forcing to work formally that do not. What is being missed by limiting the ways Rainman can communicate? The limitations on communication could be a true hinderance on learning. The way new forms of technology have opened up the world to people that in the past would have been institutionalized is proof enough for me! There has to be a fine line, and students need to know that they are communicating in different languages, but I think there is a way to get more out of students by letting them use as much or as little formal English as they please.
In the end my reporter friend agreed with me, and has had several discussions about the topic with her colleagues. Most of them have been blown away by the idea, and eventually welcomed it.
idk how i feel. do u no what 2 think? what will 2morrow b?