Education vs. Xbox
My generation was the first to grow up playing video games. When I was a kid, one of the neighbors had an Atari 2600 game machine at his house with Asteriods, Space Invaders, and yes... Pong. We would all ride our bikes over to his house and play these seemingly simple games for hours. Over the years, the games just kept getting better and more realistic.
Now, when I fire up Madden 2005 on the Xbox, the software is so realistic, and the AI (Artificial Intelligence) so convincing, you actually need a strategy to win the game. My 8 year old son was appalled the other day when we were playing together as a team and I ran a draw play on third down and goal. "Papa!! How come you ran on third down? You know these guys are tough against the run in the red zone!" A long way from Asteroids.
I have seen kids who are diagnosed as ADD and can't sit still for 30 seconds in the classroom play for 2 or 3 hours and not move an inch. Why ADD in the classroom and Zen Master concentration on the Xbox? Motivation.
If teachers are the sole source of motivation in the classroom, they will surely run out of energy before the kids run out of apathy. Eventually an equilibrium develops, the teachers don't push too hard, and the kids don't expect too much. There is not a lot of breakthrough learning going on when this is the status quo.
What would happen if we could capture the excitement and the motivation of the Xbox, and use it in education. What would happen if kids approached learning the same way the approach playing video games. Amazing things.
This is my next project. I want to put together a team of people to harness technology, story telling, and great teaching techniques to develop learning that is as exciting as playing Xbox. I will post occasionally to let you know how it goes.