Early Morning Thoughts before a Long Drive

Journey to WildwoodI am in that very sweet place between making it through a particularly onerous writing deadline and my next project, the New Jersey ELITE summer conference.  The problem is that most everyone else, along my longitude of the planet is in deep Delta sleep.  It’s OK, I’m looking forward to the day, with a canceled flight, I’m making my customary drive across Northeastern North Carolina on highway 258, then number 13 up through Portsmouth and Norfolk, across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel to the Delmar Peninsula, and on up the very rural and easy drive to Lewes, Delaware.  There I drive onto the Cape May Ferry, for an 80 minute cruise to the southern tip of New Jersey.  Then it’s just a few minutes to Wildwood, where I’ll be participating in a conference for NJ school administrators.

Now that I’m at the computer, let me spend a little mental energy, and then I can get back to sleep.  I want to reflect on the learning experiences I’ve had recently, digest them grow — or is it glow.  I remember at one point during the recent Games+Learning+Society Conference, I felt like my brain was glowing from the ideas I was being exposed to, pushing the wiring in my head to re-circuit itself.

I just glanced through the first few notes that I took during that conference and was struck by something that Jim Gee said in the opening panel, about game play being the antithesis of how we traditionally do schooling.  In game play, its the job of the gamer, as learner, examine the environment and rules of the game, the role of the gamer, and then to form a theory for how you’re going to play it.  You have to construct a strategy that follows that theory.  Then you test it, assess success, adjust the theory, adapt the strategy, and work it again.  I suspect that this is closer to the way that we’ve learned what we needed to know for adult work life, than the “being taught to” style of learning that we experienced in our own schooling.

Another idea that jumped at me from my notes was something that Cory Ondrjka, one of the founders of Second LifeTM, said.  He said that as we try to plan for and retool for the future, “..we’re going to get it wrong.  We’re not good a predicting the future.  Change is exponential, and our incorrect guesses are incrementally wrong.”

My guess is that we need to identify those fundamental element that we know are true about the future, and focus on those.  Teaching kids how to blog, use GPS, and construct a wiki, although all valuable activities, they are not about preparing children for the future.  What it’s about is helping children learn to teach themselves within a dynamic, digital, abundant, and connected information landscape.  I know I’ve left something out here, but I suspect I’m ready for sleep.

Look for photos on flickr, tagged with NJELITE08journey.

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.