TechForum Beyond the Hype Panel: Question 2

Photo by Alex Carmichal (cc)

Yesterday, I posted the first working question that Ryan, Patrick, and I had to prep for the Beyond the Hype panel we served on at TechForum last week — led by David Jakes.  Here is question number two, from some Twitter notes I was posting during a Paul Houston keynote I saw — somewhere

Discuss this comment via a David Warlick tweet:  Paul Houston: “People want schools to be better, but not different.”  Do you believe this to be true?  How exactly does Web 2.0 make schools better?

Of course this is true.  All the keynote speakers talk about it. 

Education is unique, in that we’ve all had extensive and inherently irrepressible experiences in classrooms — that were managed in the image of irrepressible classrooms of previous generations.  Conservatism and conformity are part of the system — and this is not an entirely bad thing, as innovation must be tempered.  But when innovation is frozen by prevailing notions of what schools should be like, then we need to thaw the ice.

Conservatism and conformity necessitate control, and the spirit and the affect of Web 2.0 are to democratize control and make it personal.  When teachers are released from district managed portals, and allowed to shape their own personal learning networks, when they are granted a voice and ear to a global conversation about education, when students begin to take a more active role in affecting the “what” and “how” of their own learning, then education changes, and the barriers between the “classroom” and “world” start to disappear.

On a related note, I watched Sylvia Martinez’ very fine K12 Online presentation, Games in Education.  It was an excellent blend between exposure to the game experience and the research surrounding it’s use in learning.  Frankly, I can’t see how this would have been better if she’d had more than the 20 allotted minutes.

Sylvia asked two questions that I think was central to a lot of the conversations we’re having about education.  She asked,

Are games useful in learning?

Are games useful in schooling?

Your attitude toward games and other technologies and information techniques largely depends on which of those questions you are asking.

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