What does the way you play have to do with embracing change and how does this impact you as a professional?
Educational technology is not immune to this exponential rate of change. Technology is shaping the way teachers teach and students learn. Technology in education is necessary to prepare students to compete, succeed and live in the 21st century but technology can also help motivate and engage students in high quality learning. Teachers wishing to enhance engagement and motivations should implement technology as much as possible to support instruction (Godzicki, Godzicki, Krofel, & Michaels, 2013). How do we as educators embrace new technologies especially when they are evolving so fast?
In general children seem to embrace change better than adults especially in the area of technology. In the book “A New Culture of Learning” the authors point out that “Children use play and imagination as the primary mechanisms for making sense of their new, rapidly evolving world” (Thomas & Brown, 2011). Child developmental psychologist Jean Piaget found that most children learn through play (Thomas & Brown, 2011). Play is a powerful element of learning. Plato said “Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.” It is a necessary part of early childhood education and beyond. Play is the key to embracing change in adults too.
Albert Einstein said “Play is the highest form of research.” If you hand educators new technology a common phrase you might hear is “I need time to play with it”. When I think about new technology, I think about getting my hands on it and really experiencing, exploring and understanding it. This form of play can be very challenging. Dr. Spock points out that “A child loves his play, not because it is easy, but because it is hard” (Martinez & Stager 2013). For me, it’s not play for me unless it has some form of challenge. Educators who aren’t afraid to explore and play with technology have a much easier time with change. Play allows us to learn new technology without the pressures of success or fear of failures.
One of the ways play and technologies are influencing my profession as an educator is through game-based learning. Game-based learning is the use of games to enrich the learning process. Game-based learning has been around for almost a half-century and started gaining in popularity in the 1970s with educational games like “The Oregon Trail” (Isaacs, 2015). MinecraftEdu is a good example of a 21st century game that can be tied to content and learning objectives. Even MinecraftEdu is always changing and improving. The only way for me to keep up with it, is to play it. Play makes learning fun. It’s about tapping into students’ interests, engaging them and making learning and work enjoyable through play.
Understanding Richard Bartle’s Taxonomy of Player Types can help educators differentiate play in their classroom. When I took Bartle’s Test of Gamer Psychology written by Erwin Andreasen and Brandon Downey it showed that I am an Explorer Gamer who also is an Achiever. I have had my students take a simplified version I created and it really opened my eyes to the type of play my students are drawn to and enjoy. I was able to use this information in all kinds of ways in my classroom.
Embracing 21 century technology changes means we cannot afford to wait until someone teaches us, it means we must make the most out of what is going on around us and get in there and play.
Big Idea: Technology Grows Exponentially. (2011, March 26). Retrieved from http://bigthink.com/think-tank/big-idea-technology-grows-exponentially
Godzicki, L., Godzicki, N., Krofel, M., & Michaels, R. (2013, May). Increasing Motivations and Engagement in Elementary and Middle School Students Through Technology supported Learning Environments [Scholarly project]. In ERIC. Retrieved September 15, 2015, from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED541343.pdf
Isaacs, S. (2015, January 15). The Difference between Gamification and Game-Based Learning. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from http://inservice.ascd.org/the-difference-between-gamification-and-game-based-learning
Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press
Shankland, S. (2012, October 12). Moore's Law: The rule that really matters in tech - CNET. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/news/moores-law-the-rule-that-really-matters-in-tech/
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). Chapters 3. In A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace?