Beautiful thoughts from Don Norman.
He begins by talking about how video games can engage even the most unruly and distractable learner, and how the same things that keep the gamer involved can be employed to keep the learner involved (for they are one and the same).
His list of what tech can do is a masterclass in itself.
Tech can: - motivate - make visible what is otherwise not - allow for the study of the complex - take care of the drudgery [and thus] - allow for concentration on the profound - be patient - give endless rewards and challenges - continually engage the mind - move the teacher into the roles of guide, mentor, and fellow explorer of knowledge
The idea of tech as patient (if you build it right, it will let you try over and over again, until you get it right or decide to move on) is a refreshing reversal of the way I often think about it: I had to keep on trying over and over again, until I finally got it right. (This in relation to bugs). But it could be: I got to keep on trying over and over again, until I finally got it right. (This in relation to hard concepts that take a while to sink in). And really, as I've programmed more and more, “bugs” and “hard concepts” are one and the same. Though of course bugs due to poor software design do exist, I have learned it is more productive to first (and second and third) question my grasp of the concept, before jumping to an accusation or intimation of ill will or laziness on the part of the designer.
Technology is not the answer to the ailments of education. All of us succeeded in an educational system that was mainly empty of technology. But technology can help. It can motivate, it can make visible what is otherwise not, allow for the study of the complex, taking care of the drudgery and allowing for concentration on the profound. It can be patient. It can give endless rewards and challenges. It continually engages the mind. And it provides a new, more rewarding role for the teacher as a guide, mentor, and fellow explorer of knowledge.
The proper technology, coupled with proper teachers, can indeed transform. Learning is through doing, or though what I once proclaimed was a state of “critical confusion.“ People learn best, I argued, when challenged – just enough to be confused, just enough to be motivated to search, to struggle, and to achieve.
We learn not by having our heads filled with the great thoughts and ideas of others, but by constructing them within our own conceptual structures. But this construction works best when the scenario is rigged so as to lead us to the ideas, to force us to confront them and understand them. This is what the successful game designer does. This is what the successful educator must do.
Technology is not the answer, but proper technology coupled with informed pedagogy, coupled with teachers that are coaches, guides and mentors, can lead the way.
Sun 17 Nov 2019 10:23:05 AM CST