Monday, October 17, 2011

Pandemic 2

I am not a gamer whatsoever, but once I found this game I couldn't stop playing. I had to rely on my classmate's suggestions for gaming sites because I didn't have any experience gaming beforehand. I went Game Post in search for a game and found a game called Pandemic 2. I immediately became engrossed in the process of trying to spread a disease to wipe out the entire world population. The first couple of times I played I didn't get very far because I was still learning the game, but after a couple tries I almost killed all of the world's population.

I wouldn't say that I reached the flow completely, but I was very into the game. Like most games, there is immediate feedback. That is important for this game because as you go you accumulate points, which help you "buy" symptoms, transmission options, and resistance options. I will say that you must be patient to play this game, and you will not lose focus on what's happening around you, but it is still very engaging. There is no worry of failure because if your disease doesn't spread as you like then you can always try again. There are definitely clear goals to this game because from the beginning the player understands the goal is to wipe out the world population.

As I said before, this game really exercises your patients, and it also increases your awareness, and puts your strategy skills to work. This is a game of strategy and to win you must have the correct combinations of symptoms, transmission options, and resistance options. Luck also goes into it a little bit, too, because you don't get to choose your starting region. My roommate played a few rounds and one time she got Madagascar. Her disease didn't spread very quickly, but I got lucky and had Greenland as a starting region and almost wiped everyone out. 

Well, this game shouldn't be fun, but it is. The concept of killing everyone in the world hardly sounds ethical. The reason it's fun is because you get to play God in a sense. You determine how to spread the disease and every detail of the disease is in your hands. I've learned that if a person is put in a position of power where they decide every detail then they are bound to be engaged. I think this is very similar to the way people learn. Learners want to help develop their own instruction. They want to have a say in how they learn as well as the guidelines to learning it. As a teacher this will definitely be something that is helpful to know because I know that learners want to be a part of the journey, and who says they shouldn't be?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Flat World, Flat Classroom

Up until two weeks ago I had never heard of the Flat Classroom Project, or the FCP, so what better thing to do than jump into it blindly, right? It's been an exciting two weeks exploring this project, which is based off Thomas Friedman's work on the world's flatteners. After watching Friedman's 75 minute lecture, a video conference with Vicki Davis, and a little exploration on the FCP wiki, I became an expert advisor for students working on the topic of outsourcing. I haven't really had enough time to get my feet wet with this project just yet; but judging by what I have learned about it so far, I am certain that it will be a great learning experience for me. It's authentic learning opportunities like the FCP that get me excited to teach. With all the technological tools at my fingertips, creating memorable, collaborative, interesting, intriguing, and challenging lessons for my students has never been more doable. The FCP is a great opportunity to be involved with and I'm excited to get started!

Christensen's book, Disrupting Class, raises a serious question about standardizing teaching rather than customizing learning. We know that all students learn differently, so why standardize our assessments and lessons? A great way to customize learning is through project-based learning, which requires students to apply what they're learning and fill in the gaps of what they don't know through the experience. Christensen says, though, that many schools simply can't adopt widespread project-based learning because the physical layout of the school building won't allow it. This is where the FCP comes into play. This is a form of project-based learning, isn't it? It's done collaboratively, it causes students to apply the knowledge, and it's like the experience of traveling without leaving home. Through the FCP students are submerged in a diverse environment without physically being somewhere else. The FCP is definitely customizing learning rather than standardizing teaching. The technology behind it is exciting and fresh and should be taken advantage of by more educators.

Images: Flickr: Audaciousgloop

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The World Is... Flat?

I recently watched a lecture by Thomas Friedman about the world being flat. I have a mixed feeling about the world being flat. Educationally, I think that it is really exciting. It's mind-boggling to think about the opportunities we now have with education; however, it is a little bit frightening to think about what it could do to our economy. With the possibility of outsourcing American jobs our economy is only bound to worsen.

Educationally, the possibilities are endless. Our students can learn about other cultures through face time with students from different countries, students can work collaboratively on projects with students across the nation or across the world, and students can be better prepared for outsourcing in the workforce. 

Economically, this could take a turn for the worst for the United States. Outsourcing is very beneficial for large corporations because they can now find cheaper labor overseas. Considering our current economic status I don't think we can afford to outsource all of our jobs. What is neat, though, is that we have the possibility to outsource. But, does that mean we should?

The world being flat is definitely affecting me. Like is stated above, the possibilities for education are endless, but we should be careful not to take it too far. Learning about the world being flat gets me excited to teach more than anything.  It's new advancements and talk of opportunity such as this that make me certain that teaching is for me.