The new wave of educational technology will leverage our greatest natural resource: the curiosity inherent in every child.
It’s easy to be depressed about the state of our educational system. Progress is often trapped in a political holy war between over-testing, which dulls curiosity and boil the humanity away from learning (the most human of endeavors) and those who fear any accountability that might demonstrate the incompetence of a policy, dogma, curriculum or educator. There’s also a particularly American desire to make education facile and automatic, as easy as downloading kung fu knowledge into your head in the Matrix or posting to Instagram; a recent manifestation being Baby Einstein, which mislead millions of parents into thinking that 2-year-olds can learn from DVDs.
In my industry–learning games–there’s a destructive design pattern that attempts to make learning fun by the cheapest technique possible: inserting irrelevant math worksheet problems into the middle of a video game. For example, a player runs around a castle with a sword, when suddenly he or she is asked to answer: 3 + 8 = ?. No effort is made to make the math relevant, visual, or integrated. While these games may shore up a child’s knowledge of some rote math facts, they set up a false dichotomy that makes context-less, dry math the enemy of fun. In our own games, we aspire not to balance engagement and learning, but to fuse them together. We believe that’s the way games can best tap into the natural drive humans have to learn, explore, and be challenged.
Despite these challenges, we’re optimistic that a new wave of edtech startups will radically improve K-12 learning. New platforms and media present us with an incredible opportunity: to redesign learning, to redesign engagement, and to tap into the endless curiosity of every child. Fortunately, several technology trends hold the potential to keep the inquisitive spark alive in more learners. We’re at a tipping point in educational technology for several reasons:
via FastCoExist – Gabriel Adauto and Jacob Klein
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