Posted by: crudbasher | December 19, 2011

An Education Observation From Disney World

I live in Orlando, Florida, not too far from Disney World. My wife and I have had passes for a number of years so we get to go fairly often. (I know, I know, you hate me now heh)

Me at Magic Kingdom

We went this past weekend and spent a wonderful day at Magic Kingdom. Since we get to go often, I spend some time looking at the people rather than the park itself. I especially love to watch the children. If it’s their first time at Magic Kingdom, they about explode with excitement! I do think that Disney is designed to be experienced with children.

This time I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before. More and more kids were playing games on cell phones. I have seen that before in stores for example. It’s common to see a kid playing a game while following their mother around a store. They play games on car trips. My nephews love to play games. In fact, the oldest one (he’s 8) asked me to show him how to make his own games! (I did)

As I was watching the kids at Magic Kingdom this weekend something hit me like a ton of bricks. This is my observation:

If you can’t get a kid to pay attention to what they are doing at Magic Kingdom, probably the single most kid centered place in the entire world, then how can you get them to pay attention in a classroom?

The world is changing right in front of our eyes.

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Responses

  1. The classroom needs to embrace the device and use it as a tool to help get the point across. I looked for it on my blog but couldn’t find the post where I wrote about “reflection posts” where you could have people stop at the post, scan a QR code that will generate a puzzle/question for them to think about while standing in that one spot.

    Why can’t the classroom be the most kid centered place in their world? Show them the value of what they are looking at, if they want it to be a game, then create learning in a game – it will then be addictive thus they will be addicted to learning.

    • Wow @JoeGinese commenting on my blog! I’m honored! 🙂

      Using QR codes is a great idea to help get students interested. I’m sure you agree however that we shouldn’t use technology just for technologies sake.

      I think the problem with the classroom isn’t the fact everyone gets together. It’s that everyone is doing the same thing at the same time. If we can come up with a more free and individualistic model, then I think the model will hold up for a while. Your idea for games is great because I’m going to write a bit about this on Friday. I really think that games and simulation are going to transform education soon.

      Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments!!

  2. I’m curious where the families were & what they were doing when you saw the children playing the phone games. There’s actually quite a bit of wait-time at Disney – waiting for the monorail or bus, waiting to get into the park, waiting in line, waiting for your food or for the rest of the family to finish eating, waiting for your parents to figure out how to get from point A to point B, waiting for the parade or the fireworks to start.

    OTOH, I would be really surprised if you were at an attraction and you saw somebody ignoring the ride or performance in favor of a game on the cell phone.

    (Unless it was the Carousel of Progress.)

    • Hey Clickety Keys,

      I mostly saw them playing at lunch, and in line for attractions. It’s hard to play while walking (it was busy that day) and of course on rides it’s impossible.

      Even so, I remember that kids were always excited about where they were and talked about what they wanted to do next. Thanks for commenting!!

      PS. I think I am probably the only person in the whole world who actually likes the Carousel of Progress. lol. 🙂

  3. So simple.
    Just let them learn from cell phones which are getting better every day .
    İPad is almost a cell phone . 7 ” once.
    Design the courses as games. There are such things.

  4. […] on this blog I try to come up with a week long story. This week I talked about how kids are playing games on cell phones as much as they can. I also had a post about how I define 21st century learning this […]


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