Saturday, June 02, 2007

all students are capable of excellence

"If you are sufficiently motivated you can achieve ANYTHING!" - Tim Rylands
"all students are capable of excellence" - Brock Dubbels

I read about award winning teacher, Tim Rylands, a while back. Tim uses the game Myst "to inspire childrens creative confidence in many areas of the curriculum including creative writing, speaking and listening, music and art".

I have just read of Brock Dubbels. He has been getting kids to write game design documents to enhance literacy:

"We first studied games as new narratives and looked at issues related to narrative analysis and film analysis, and then we focused on usability.

This was used to develop comprehension and elements of narratives for critical thinking and to accelerate kids beyond the standards. They were basically extending genre study.

Our next step was to create a design document that represented the creation of a game based upon the modern day Odyssey using the concepts from our game analysis assignments.

In this case, Odysseus was put off the bus (poseidon bus lines) and had to find a way to get home based upon the story of the Odyssey as it would happen in their "hood."

Brock believes that learning can be fun, that the academic rigour can still be there, "behind the curtain so that we can enjoy the magic of the illusion of the presence of the wizard"

"it is also important to remember that people want to be involved in something relevant and exciting. They want fun and inspiration. What this means is that I begin by emphasizing the fun and inspirational, and I embed the process and reflection into the assignment. The standards and cognitive processes are stealth objects; things are designed into the
activity and then realized through structured reflection and then shared through presentation and/or composition"

He recognises that kids learn in different ways and makes allowances for it. It's not learning on rails.

"I understand that I should allow for variation-- this is creativity and is one of those things where you know it if you see it. But, I can give them a framework to create in a manner that is reflective of their learning style. Whether they want direct instruction; if they want to build off of someone else's ideas through watching someone else for a while if they want to seek other sources and example on the web to build off of, and then do their own thing; or if they just want trial and error until something emerges."

He recognises that kids given an authentic and relevant task and access to the tools at home will put in many hours at home.

"The latter often takes the most time, but this is what happens when kids engage and they have the tools to work on the project outside of my class."