I read this article about a school introducing iPads into their classrooms. While this is a distinct improvement from no iPad, I think a lot of people are missing the point.
Here’s the quote that got me thinking:
Westsyde principal Sean Lamoureux said the incoming iPads are a sign of the times. “I see the technology in the classroom as the wave of the future,” he said.
No, no, no, and no. Technology in the classroom is not the wave of the future anymore than a nice cell phone is the precursor to a good conversation. You have to look at where this all will inevitably lead.
The goal is not to put technology into the classroom, the goal is to enable learning everywhere, including outside of the classroom. We are conditioning our students that learning can only happen in a classroom! 100 years ago that was mostly true, because that is where the books were to learn from. Today we have just as much information at home as at school so why do we still go there? This is the rock that the ship of school will shatter on. It’s a confidence game and students are increasingly not buying it. It certainly doesn’t help that in some classrooms teachers tell them to turn off their devices!
Ok rant over. Let’s lay out an example of how this could be different.
In this game, players move around their actual cities and towns. As they travel, they can pick up power and spells. They can also see other players on their map as they move around too! Combats ensue virtually via the game interface. It’s an augmented reality game but what if we developed an educational version? In order to get levels and spells you had to complete learning tasks based on your location. It would take a lot of creativity to make but students could always be playing. With a series of these games I think it could get students interested in learning at all times.
We have to break out of the classroom and focus on learning. Technology in the classroom is a good first step, but it’s a transient event that will help us transition into the future.
PS. The Shadow Cities game was launched in one country. Which one? Finland, the country with the best education system in the world. Coincidence? Um, probably. heh