Tuesday, September 30, 2003

The Blues . Blues Road Trip | PBS
Trace the Blues with this interactive map from PBS, from their origins in the Mississippi Delta to Chicago, to the Great Britain Blues Festival. With video clips.
NCSS Responds
Last month the Fordham foundation issued its report on the state of social studies education. The National Council for the Social Studies has responded:

Of two items there, I would categorize the first, the Sept. 10 press release, as typically uninclusive, not open, and lacking intellectual depth.

However, the second, the Sept. 16 remarks, offers a much better contrast. While the last few paragraphs reflect an unknowing bias, the rest is pretty good stuff, and a good entry in the discussion.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Three principles from James Gee on repairing broken identities of learners (I quote verbatum):
    1) The learner must be enticed to try, even if he or she already has good grounds to be afraid to try.
    2) The learner must be enticed to put in lots of effort even if he or she begins with little motivation to do so.
    3) The learner must achieve some meaningful success when he or she has expended this effort.

While these may seem basic, how often are they the focus of discussions and action in schools?
Learning Principles
Gee, in What Video Games have to Teach us about Learning and Literacy gives us fully 36 principles of Learning! Here are six:
6. Low Risk.
Learning in video games allows learners to take risks in a way that real-world consequences are minimal.
7. Committed Learning
In a video game, learners commit for long engagements in a world they find compelling.
8. Identity
The learner, while learning facts and mechanics, also develops a view of a certain identity in themselves. Just as Ed the blogger is only one of my growing identities, so games (and school) properly allow learners to try out identities.
9. A great game allows the player to learn about themselves and capabilities-current and potential.
10. More back than put in.
For a little input, learners get a lot of output.
11. Achievement
For learners of all levels there are rewards from the beginning, customized to their level, effort, and growing mastery.

How do schools do on this last? Bey you've never seen a student who responds great to a good one-on one session with a teacher, but are perfectly indifferent to receiving their daily "C" for staying in the center of the bell curve.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Oh, goody, goody! Blogger has upgraded the blogging software, so we may be able to work on this in batches and then post on a more regular basis. And, it has spellchecking!!

If you read this, you might send me a note, and let me know what you work on or look for in the future of learning.

Monday, September 01, 2003

A. Pintura, Art Detective
A cool little (HTML-based) game that introduces you to several artists, styles, and historical periods.