Thursday, January 30, 2014

Is Cyberspace Activity Too Much Fun For Our Kids?

Here is a question from my Global Literacy Class ...

(Referring to Mastering Global Literacy, edited by Heidi Hays Jacobs, 2014)

William Kist wrote the third chapter of the book and made an interesting point on page 62. He says that some "Teachers seem to be guilt-ridden over what one might call the entertainment factor of these new media and worry that by opening up their school and dumb it down.  All this cyberspace activity is seen as too much fun for kids -- with not enough rigor."

How can we maintain rigor while helping teachers and students learn the global technology?

Are "rigor" and "fun" counter-intuitive in a global classroom?

Here is my response...

When William Kist refers to the "entertainment factor" which teachers and students may experience with new media I can connect with that factor.  It is an excitement about learning in a new and different way.  I remember experiencing it as a child and I first began to read National Geographic magazine.  I  experienced a deeper level of engagement because I could see and touch vivid photos form around the world.  I was "entertained" by content that was new and different from anything I knew.   I will think when we encounter something new it poses an opportunity to learn.  The more exposure to "newness" the more learning occurs.  Cyberspace activity can open many "knowledge doors" at a very quick rate.

When it comes to rigor, the buzzword of the day, I think that lies in the design of the lesson.  If learning plans are created skillfully than students will feel at times that they are "playing" online and at other times they will feel like they are being extremely thorough and performing demanding, difficult work.  I would envision a global classroom as a place where both "rigor" and "fun" occur side by side.  I see and experience many classrooms now where new media enhances, engages, and enamors the teachers and learners.

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