Thursday, February 16, 2006

Is it a game?

I met Andreas Ua'Siaghail over a year ago at a computer conference here in Montreal. He spoke to me of some software he was developing: Pax Warrior. He subsequently showed it to me. It is a simulation based on the Ruandan genocide, with original film footage as well as interviews with genocide survivors. The job of the player (hopefully in collaboration with classmates) is to experience the constant decision-making that General Dallaire needed to go through. The player is given as much information as Dallaire had. Each decision may result in worsening the situaion or not. This is a very realistic situation in which you face many ethical issues. You can't change the past, but can you change the future. By becoming informed decision makers, perhaps our youth will make ethical decisions which may put humanity before money. I was impressed by the software. Andreas sent me a link to an interview on the BBC (only available this week) which is worth listening to. The item which precedes it on the show is interesting too! Have a look at what this simulation can do.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Cultivating Digital Literacy Through Blogging

I really enjoy listening to Wesley Fryer. He shares generously both his thoughts and experience. Some of his podcasts feature speakers at conferences. I just listened to one of David Thornburg talking about the use of Linux and Open Source software.

Wesley Fryer talks about blogs and podcasts as disruptive technology. It's not about transmission based education, but rather is a technology that engages students, that meets them where they are. Many people talk about 21st century literacy skills Cheryl Lemke in enGuage talks about digital age literacies, inventive thinking, effective communication and high productivity. Fryer contends that blogs and podcasts are a great way of developing these skills. Blogging allows for social discourse. If you have never listened to a podcast try this one. His passion is palpable. Check the links on the website. One thing that Fryer recommends is commenting on students' blogs, how important it is for the students. If you don't know where to find student blogs, Fryer has tagged a number of them on his account

Engagement, relationships, storytelling - the keys to learning (Fryer) Can we make that part of education?