Nice video, shame about the song

I recently came across this link about Social media and Game theory.

http://mashable.com/2011/05/26/social-media-games-education/

Now I react very positively to the para:

‘Social media and online games have the potential to convey 21st century skills that aren’t necessarily part of school curricula — things like time management, leadership, teamwork and creative problem solving that will prepare teens for success in college and beyond. Making the transition between a highly structured environment in high school to a self-driven, unstructured environment in college can prove a huge challenge for many kids.’

But then when I read:

‘Updates like “Christina just checked into quadratic equations” could show her peers what she’s working on, encourage participation, and allow others working on a similar subject matter to pitch in.’

I start to get worried. This seems terribly evasive. It’s like right now someone is receiving a message that says: ‘You really ought to be aware that All Change Please just checked its current blog stats and is currently writing a new post about social media and game theory – feel free to interrupt.’

Then there are ‘Leaderboards’. I’m not against competition, but being towards the bottom of the board can be incredibly de-motivating.

Some games (and not necessarily the ones described as being ‘educational’) are great for children to play (in some sort of moderation) – for the reasons given in the first quote above. But what seems wrong is to then apply them to academic education in the hope that they will boost student’s ‘scores’. If I’m the sort of person who is likely to have a career involving solving quadratic equations, then I probably don’t need Checkins or Leaderboards to motivate me.

As always, it’s not how kids learn that’s the problem, it’s what we currently want them to learn? That’s what worries me about the Khan Academy – it’s using new technology to deliver old learning.

And so on to what is apparently the latest sensational educational online revolution in app-based learning:

http://inthetelling.com/gallery.html  (view the ‘Tell It Help’ video)

One day, maybe I’ll actually get excited by something like this? OK it’s great that it’s available anywhere, anytime, to anyone. But all it’s essentially doing is automating – ie making quicker and easier – the process of  accessing a video and a text and to take, or rather ‘copy and paste’, notes – something that was previously achieved by visiting a library armed with a notebook and a pencil.

Developers and publishers need to start thinking afresh about the sort of content and processes of learning that are most appropriate and most suitably enhanced for our ‘new’ media. At present it’s a bit like we have 3D HD widescreen, colour, surround sound interactive TV, and all we use it for is watching someone else read a book out loud to us.

Nice app, shame about the content?