Before I go Piaget and deep thinking on some of what I saw at ISTE this week, I want to talk about some of the sessions I went too. I’ve seen a push back via Twitter on people complaining about sessions in a couple ways. One person very snarkily asked if anyone actually went to session or if they just “hung out” the whole time. Another complained about the validity of so may many “tool” based sessions.
I went to a couple GREAT sessions…and I went to a couple of sessions that were written up very well, 🙂 That being said, in the same sense that studenrs take ownership and LEARN when they are interested and passionate, adults are the same way. I’m a glass half full kinda girl, so of course, I was able to find the good in anything I did there. Starting with the keynotes…
Jane McGonigal kicked off Sunday night. I had never heard of her before but have a lot of experience with gaming in the classroom pros/cons. I loved that she said,
“Gamers contribute to a broad network of inspired creativity.” With only 4 out of 10 high schoolers admitting to seeing a need for them to graduate, we need to do something to create a passion that wants them to finish. As our students grow up gaming, they’re immersed in a high engaging, high energy, high on feedback, and collaboration environment…schools have to adjust!
For those who think games are a waste of time…gamers fail 80% of the game. And yet, they keep going. Think of how different that is from the classroom. We have kids that give up before they even try. Games give you a hero, a quest, and a purpose, no matter how small. No wonder our students are attracted to it. They’re trying to change the world…why can’t we give them that opportunity in the classroom?
She showed a slide of the incredible comparison of a passive and an engaged gamers brain…you only “light up” when you are in control. Research shows that we start every game being bad at it. When we learn how to do something we charge up the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is involved in memory forming, organizing, and storing. It is particularly important in forming new memories and connecting emotions and senses, like smell and sound, to memories.
One of my favorite researchers in positive emotion ratio is Dr. Barb Fredrickson. Jane mentioned this when she said that you should want 3 positive emotions to every negative…it’s a magic ratio that can add to your success in EVERY aspect of your life. Powerful! Is that happening for our students in the classroom? Because it is in other facets of their life. If we educators want to be a part of that passion play, we need just that…more PLAY in the classroom. This talk wasn’t just about the obvious, playing video games, but PLAYing in general. After all, as @TechNinjaTodd said, ” We want kids to see we can have fun being adults so that they want to grow up”!