Internship Reflection Week of 2012-01-02 [19] (Prensky)

Classes resumed on Wednesday (1/4) of this week after the long holiday break.  Since I didn’t continue the CSI (Crime Scene Investigators) elective for the Middle Schoolers, my thoughts over the break were mostly on the new High School Elective that I am planning on starting in January, and the SAT Review course that starts at the end of February.

Also, although it is in the distance yet, the prospect of doing the TPA (Teacher Proficiency Assessment) for my certification requirements at SPU for the State of Washington is at the forefront of my mind.  It will continue to be there, and rightly so, until it is finished at the end of March.

But let me talk a moment about the topic of the High School elective that I will be running on the topic of computer games, game design and 3D tools.  To help crystallize some of my thinking on the topic, I read the book “Don’t Bother Me Mom – I’m Learning” by Marc Prensky.  The main thesis of the book is that computer games can teach and much can be learned from computer games.  The title alludes to the reservations that many parents have about their children playing computer games, and the text of the book seeks to engage that tension creatively.

In particular—the point that most resonated with me is that—parents need to spend more time with their children, and especially in pursuits that both find recreationally interesting.  On that foundation much understanding can be built and many conversations can be had about what is in those games and what young adults are taking from those games.

As I look forward to engaging students at my school on the topic.  I realize there are skeptics.  I realize it looks like time-wasting.  I realize there are risks of exposing kids to ideas and themes which they may not be old enough to handle.  However, as Prensky coined the terms “digital native” and “digital immigrant”, I’d like to coin the term “digital ally” which means that I am on the side of the student and want to help guide them into the appropriate and responsible use of technology, but especially for the cause of increasing interest in and access to STEM education.

That’s the theme of the school where I am teaching, start with interests and take kids onward and upward from there.  As I look forward at this year, there are not a lot of formal opportunities to give lectures and stand up in front of classrooms.  That’s never been a pre-requisite for real learning, so hold on tight as I continue on this internship and lets see what kind of excitement I can build in students as I engage them on what to them is very familiar territory, the video game.

References

Prensky, M. (2006).  Don’t Bother Me Mom – I’m Learning.  Paragon House.

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