Chapter 7: Knowing, Making, and Playing
Chapter 8: Hanging Out, Messing Around and Geeking Out
Chapter 9: The New Culture of Learning for a World of Constant Change
Quotation: "Only when we care about experimentation, play, and questions more than efficiency, outcomes, and answers do we have a space that is truly open to the imagination" (Thomas & Brown 118). I feel like this is a mission statement for the entire text. It seems to represent a move towards an unknown and interesting future that I look forward to being a part of.
Question: How will I stay a part of this new culture once I move out of school and into the "real world"?
Connection: My brother has been an avid player of World of Warcraft for years, sometimes spending 40+ hours a week playing. Its a game and that is unlikely to change but at the same time I have heard him talk about the effort that he puts into selecting the right load out of items to carry, the right combination and order to cast his spells, etc. I really believe that the skills that he has put into playing this game at this very high level (he has topped national and world wide leaderboards in a few areas) has corollary skills outside of the game.
Epiphany: I think that one "aha!" I experienced while reading this chapter was that games should not be pigeonholed into the dead end time wasting exercise where society currently seems to place them. Just as fiction, newspapers, magazines and the internet have all been derided and then eventually accepted as valuable tools to train our minds games my be redefined as well.
Chapter 4 - Learning in the Collective
Quotation: "Our ability to produce, consume and distribute knowledge in an unlimited, unfiltered, and immediate way is the primary reason for the changes we see today... With just a computer and access to the Internet, one can view or consume an almost unimaginably diverse array of information and points of view" (Thomas & Brown 51). Despite all of the things that Star Trek got right (which was a surprising amount all things considered) they missed the huge effect that a planet wide communication and computational system would have on society. Where past ages have been defined by some tangible discovery like bronze and iron, our most recent age is being shaped by information. And we have a lot of it.
Question: Is it even possible to harness students use of technology to funnel them towards state standards without stifling their ability to be truly creative?
Connection: To echo statements that I have made elsewhere, and many other people have said in many other places, including Will Richardson in "Why School?". The problem is no longer that we don't have enough information, its that there is too darn much of it. Trying to find information on most topics is like drinking from a firehose. So much so that I am reminded of a bit of advice I saw recently on twitter:
Epiphany: Creating and using these collectives is free. I'm not sure yet how to use them, but I believe that they can be truly powerful tools to facilitate learning in this new age. And its free!
Chapter 5 - The Personal With the Collective
Quotation: "Almost every difficult issue we face today is a collective, rather than a personal, problem. And approaching some of our biggest challenges- whether financial, environmental, or health-care related- in terms of the collective has led to the development of meaningful solutions" (Thomas & Brown 59). By working together we can tackle bigger problems than we can handle alone. Which is good because the problems we face today sometimes seem very large.
Question: How can I help students understand how they should interact and participate meaningfully in appropriate collectives?
Connection: A while ago I read a book called Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart, that talks about the emerging systems that are using to vast amount of information that is currently available to create solutions to problems that people didn't even know existed or that can do/predict things that are far beyond what even a highly-trained expert can do alone.
Epiphany: I am part of dozens of collectives! I'd never come across the concept of a collective before this reading and yet I've been participating in different collectives for work and play for years!
Chapter 6 - We Know More Than We Can Say
Quotation: "Inquiry is the process by which we ask not 'What is it that we know?' but 'What are the things that we don't know and what questions can we ask about them?'" (Thomas & Brown 83). We know a lot of things. I've spent my whole life learning things. But if I content myself with what I already know then that information dies because it is no longer a living, breathing, growing thing that is able to react to the world around it.
Question: How do I get my students to figure out what they know and leverage that into asking more about what they don't know?
Connection: I spent my senior year at CSUSM developing an Inquiry-based gas chromatography lab for use in a high school. It was an awesome opportunity to play around with some powerful instruments and learn what it takes to develop a lab for students. I've been trying to foster Inquiry-based learning since before I started the Credential program but I'm still learning about what true inquiry looks like.
Epiphany: I finally got a better definition for inquiry. I'm probably going to frame this quote somewhere.
Its go time everyone. I've got the game to a place where I need play testers! If you have the chance try it out once and then leave me a quick comment about what you think of it so far. Please let me know if you experience any bugs or have any ideas that you think need to be implemented.
This link will give you access to the game. If you are interested feel free to take a look at the coding I have going on behind the scenes. A few if/then commands can go VERY far.
For those of you who don't have time to be playing video games I've included a short video of the gameplay below. The agonizingly slow pace of the game really helps channel your inner zombie.
Chapter One - Arc of Life Learning
Quotation-"In a sense, Doug had indeed taught the students nothing. They, however, had taught him a great deal about what the new culture of learning might look like and how powerful it can be when students see each other as resources and figure out how to learn form each other" (Thomas & Brown 25). This quotation speaks to me because it helps me to understand the EDSS520 course a little better and help give words to what I would like my students classroom experience to become.
Question- What can I do to create a culture that in my classroom?
Connection- I spent some time recently with the people over at #Collabed who struck me as a group of people who are living by the principles shown in this chapter. They are creating learning communities with each other in order to share their learning and by inspired by others. If you haven't looked at my Storify of the twitterchat with these amazing educators, please take the time.
Epiphany- I think that my big epiphany occurred as I read all of the different stories in this chapter and with each one I found a part of myself resonating with the experiences that were shared. This is what I want to help my students learn to create. This is what I want to create for myself!
Chapter Two - A Tale of Two Cultures
Quotation- "Education has been seen as a process of transferring information from a higher authority (the teacher) down to the student" (Thomas & Brown 34). I think that this quote from the text speaks very well to the huge paradigm shifts in education that are starting to take place. Speaking for myself, I would love to be able to transfer all of the hard-earned lessons that I have learned from years of learning into the heads of my students over the course of our 185 days together. Except it won't work. It probably doesn't even need to. Much of the information that I have earned through these years of learning can be accessed faster and more reliably using technology than they ever could be accessed through our biological circuits.
Question- How do I create a new 21st century culture in my classroom if the school or department remains tied to the norms of the old one?
Connection- I kept thinking back as I read this chapter to the ideas that came up in some of the videos that I blogged about a few weeks ago having to do with questions and knowledge. We need to start putting more effort into training students about asking the right questions more than knowing the right answers.
Epiphany- As I read this chapter I kept thinking about what my role as an educator really should be. I need to give students access to the material, even guide students so that they are interacting with some of the right stuff at the right times to guide their learning. But the process of learning is a deeply personal one that I can't meddle in too much without killing it.
It's been a while since I've had the chance to blog about my progress but I have been making some significant progress since I last checked in. I now have a system that creates randomized movement for the human "prey" that the player (zombie) chases around the map. I decided to build in natural "breaks" for the human movement so that it is more possible for the zombie to catch up to them. I have also created a simple list of statistics that can be modified on the zombie to match specific playstyles. A player has the option of placing a limited number of points into Speed (affecting how easy it is to chase down humans), Sight (how easy it is to find humans on the map), and Infectivity (how likely you are to turn a human into a zombie once you have caught them).
In all I feel that the majority of the background work has been completed as far as building the "engine" that the game is built upon. I'm now working on trying to make the game a little more user friendly as far as giving information on how to play and adding a little more in game flavor. All that said, please feel free to try what I have so far and take a look around my programming if you are interested. I may have to lock out the programming while I am working on it but please let me know if you have any feedback.
before Youtube an Eastern European band had its song Numa Numa cartoonized by Korean artists and then those videos made it across the ocean to an American boy who lip-synced the song and became an internet sensation. His lip-sync could have been a totally humiliating but instead people all over the world started making videos in imitation of him and it became a shared experience for people all over the world.
What eventually came out of this very interesting video was the idea that a new world exists, or is starting to exist, where meaning and identity are totally different things than in the "real" world. What struck me was the power of this community where people who would never interact in real life are able to start building connections in ways that would have been impossible fifteen years ago.
I've been teaching two years going on my third. While I majored in Chemistry I was given the chance to teach AP Physics 1 my first year. I haven't looked back yet.