[Oz-teachers] [S] Re: Dyslexia ..... fiction!!!???

Paul Shirren shirro at shirro.com
Thu Mar 25 14:41:15 EST 2010

On 25/03/10 1:09 PM, Benjamin, Thomas wrote:
> My only caveats on this are that I like having a standard of Microsoft
> desktop applications even if they purloined all this from earlier
> companies (I used to prefer Claris in Mac days). Without a standard set
> to build from it's hard to share.

It is not a dislike for specific applications or brands. I think there
is something very democratic and empowering about people choosing and
adapting technology to suit themselves rather than having it forced upon
them. I look forward to the day when existing school computers are
displaced by students and teachers using personal technology.

Personal technology succeeds or fails on its ability to interoperate
which creates an impetus towards open standards such as email and web.

The technology chosen for use in corporate environments including
unimaginative schools does not need to interoperate and can be wildly
non-standard. The perception of a need for proprietary standards comes
from working in an environment that is not predisposed towards open ones.

It should not be about the tools but the process and the product. I
believe the tools should be substitutable and that students should be
encouraged to use different tools.

The objection that people need to be taught tools and hence teachers
need to teach a common set of tools makes less sense as these tools
become more like tools and less like obstacle courses.

> I'd expand on the " a lot of imagination" as the key and maybe hardest
> part. One operationalization of it is "a good script". A big epic with a
> bad script flops.

True. I think it all starts with a good story, setting and characters.
Fortunately history and literature are rich with examples. How to turn
stories into a set of rules and procedures that define a game seems to
have been well studied by generations of kids and game designers.

Most of the RPG (Role Playing Game) systems that have been designed have
quite sophisticated rule systems. If someone could articulate a generic
set of rules for an education gaming system that would help teachers and
students both in game creation and adaption but also in operating the game.

> I also have yet to see a standard emerging in the mobile world. I don't
> know if teachers can yet (or ever will) rely on each student having a
> mobile and account with a shared set of capabilities.

The Internet and open standards bodies such as W3C help pull this all
together but the thing to remember is that mobile is just a tool not an
end in itself. As a tool I think it is much more productive and
compatable with real world interaction than the more isolating
experience of something like a 3d virtual reality.

Given a choice between flying around a 3d model of Bakery Hill and the
Eureka stockade on a 17inch screen in social isolation in a dark room
and running around the school yard in a miner or troopers outfit with
geotagged locations linked to video/audio and text and having to solve
puzzles and interact with other players using mid 19th century language
I would vote for the later as being a healthier and more imaginative

> Sure, they may
> well cost less than earlier textbooks but they transmute so quickly.
> Parents may have separate reasons for not empowering them. I don't even
> have facilities to test this sort of thing so I can at least state that
> if I don't have them surely there are others who don't.

Casual surveys of my wife's middle school classes would suggest that
close to 100% of students are packing silicon in their pockets. Perhaps
not all of those devices are very sophisticated yet but the writing is
on the wall. As you say they do transmute quickly and that is the reason
to start thinking about how to incorporate them into learning now
because designing and play testing games takes time.

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