Edutainment: Could video games and social networking make better learn
Jun 11, 2009 Lesson Planning 12814 Views
As is reported at news.scotsman.com, Bray has developed a pilot scheme that involves the popular Activision computer game, Guitar Hero, and its use to get children to form their own virtual rock bands in the classroom. The learning comes from having to work as a team, discussing geography for tours, designing merchandise, and even the building of relationships. Yet, the idea isn't completely new. Nintendo's video game, Nintendogs, has also been used to teach children via managing a virtual kennel, using money, designing logos and making business plans.
After winning an award at the Microsoft European Innovative Teachers Forum Awards in Vienna, Bray has also been looking at better ways by which the internet should be used to help children (and their teachers) learn. Instead of sending children home with boring worksheets, he is promoting the idea of setting internet-based tasks - such as visiting the Ordnance Survey website for Geography homework as a more exciting incentive for youngsters to want to, and enjoy, their homework.
Similarly, the recent rise in popularity for micro-blogging service, Twitter, may well be his next tool, he states: "I think Twitter is a fantastic tool: I see it as a personal learning network. For example, this morning I was thinking about virtual schools so I did a couple of searches on Google and didn't get very much back. I asked a question on Twitter, and got 10 or 15 really useful links sent to me."
To me, this is the most interesting of Bray's ideas. With the development of distance education, study and e-Learning - it's intriguing to see the primary and secondary education sector being at the forefront of new, and digital, ways of learning. In recent years we have seen distance and traditional higher education institutions use blogs, wikis, and forums to teach students to promote themselves and learn how to communicate in a digital environment. Now it seems that Twitter could well become part of the general curriculum. - and a good way to teach youngsters about filtering quality content from the internet - a skill which is going to become all the more important as more research and school work is done online.