Bloggin’ in the Blue Ridge

I’m blogging live from the auditorium of Blue Ridge Community College near Asheville, North Carolina. This is an absolutely wonderful conference that is in its 4th year, and I hadn’t heard of it until they asked me to talk about classroom blogging a couple of months ago.

First, you wouldn’t believe that the scenery. Rolling hills with tall desiguous trees in their green prime. It will only be surpased by the same scenes several weeks from now as they turn.

Marc PrenskyI just got a call, and had to miss the first few minutes of Marc Prensky. He’s talking about digital natives and digital immigrants, and excellent way to explain the differences between us and our students.

He has just put on his presentation that Learning is Work. Hmmm! Is learning work? or is work learning? I’ll have to think about that. To what degree does learning feel like play. Is this what we need to be going to, making learning fun? Is that what parents expect?

Kids today understand “engagement”. He says that when he was growning up, it was boring. School was a wasteland. “Where did you go?” We answered “out”. “What did you do?” We said “Nothing”. Our kids say that if they can’t find anything to do, they can always go online.

Prensky says that engagement is more important than content. Wow!

What’s different about the new technology is that it is programmable. — Alan Kay.

I didn’t know this. When Deans campaign decided to start collecting contributions online, they went to an 18 year old to write the software. Took him just a few days. These kids love the complexity of the times. Hmm! I have so much trouble explaining the new shape of information to teachers. Would students understand it more easily. I haven’t tried.

Kids want learning to be fun. But what does fun mean now. Fund is the act of mastering a problem mentally. — Rafe Kotter: The Theory of Fun.

Engage me Or I will be Enraged. It’s not ADD, it’s EOE. I love it.

You know, you can’t sit in any presentation today, without hearing reference to Friedman’s The World if Flat. This is a good thing, because Friedman is telling a new story, and that’s what we need.

Students need and want 21st century skills. The skills are not in their children’s schools, and worse yet, their schools aren’t even thinking about them. Kids are getting credentials in school, and they’re doing their real learning after school, playing games, and, Prensky says, that learning is the reason why they play. That’s the secret.

He’s writing a new book called New book don’t bother me, mom — I’m learning!. Should be out by Christmas.

Prinsky says that, as we are trying to compete with what’s out there, “We’re not fighting a war of graphics. We’re fighting a war of ideas”. The games are so rich in ideas, and idea skills. This is what kids find to be “Fun”.

I’m taking digital pictures of many of the good slides, and I’ll post them later.

Tim Rylands (timrylands.com) uses fantisy games in the classroom to improve literacy skills. Prensky lists a number of games that are appropriate and desirable for education. Many of them are free. The problem is that to use these games is to be a Tim Rylands. You have to figure out how to integrate the game into the classroom. Actually, the students don’t even have to play the games in the classroom. Just talk about them.

As I well know, Prensky’s time is almost gone, and he has a lot more to talk about. He points to the following web site for more info.

http://www.socialimpactgames.com/

Are we doing our jobs? “Would our kids be here if they didn’t have to?” Yeah!

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.