Informal Learning – 8yr olds even know it…

April 20, 2010

Photo caption from April 2010 issue of Fast Company, Article called “A is for APP”
Just think about the quote from the 8yr old in this photo “It’s educational because you can do it by yourself.”

The US spends how many billions of dollars a year, for 100 years, training our kids by teachers writing on chalk boards to a class of silences kids. And this 8yr old explains in a sentence why he feels that he and his laptop (and the Internet) are what he needs to educate himself. I believe in guidance, curriculum, mentoring, training and supervision – but maybe those could be added to a very informal learning paradigm (Montessori as a baseline maybe?) — and out produce the current failing system.


Oscar Soto, 8

Hometown: Greenwood, Indiana
School: North Grove Elementary
Device: HP Mini 2140

“When it’s time to work on our laptop, I get excited because maybe we get to have free time. We might go to a fun Web site. Sometimes we can learn more information. We learned about frogs and toads.

Favorite game for the whole year? It’s Mario Movie Maker. You can make a movie and you can put it in your own voice and you can choose music. It’s educational because you can do it by yourself.”


Wired up – Tuned in or Tuned out?

October 10, 2008

I was so taken by this brief article in August, that I organized a panel discussion around this topic at an upcoming educational conference to be held in Virginia Beach, VA, 21-24 March 2009 titled “Stories, Games, and New Technologies for Digital Natives”. More details in a future post…

“Generation IM – Getting through to today’s teched-out children”
August 2008
Source: Instructor Magazine

Jacob is your average American 11-year-old. He has a television and a Nintendo DS in his bedroom; his family also has two computers, a wireless Internet connection, and a PlayStation 3. His parents rely on e-mail, instant messaging, and Skype for daily communication, and they’re avid users of Tivo and Netflix. Jacob has asked for a Wii for his upcoming birthday. His selling point? “Mom and Dad, we can use the Wii Fit and race Mario Karts together!”

Most likely, you teach a classroom full of Jacobs. Peggy Sheehy knows what that’s like from firsthand experience. “Outside of school, our children are bombarded with digital input—and they have been
since the day they were born,” she says.

As an instructional technology facilitator at Suffern Middle School in New York, Sheehy knows how tech has fundamentally changed the world our students live in—and perhaps our students themselves.

“Compared to us, I believe their brains have developed differently,” says Sheehy. “If we teach them the way we were taught, we’re not serving them well.”

And that’s just what many teachers struggle with: How do we teach 21st-century skills to a generation of digital-media natives? What does it mean for our teaching methods and curricula—let alone how we relate to our students? And who are these kids, anyway?