Nolan Bushnell (left), founder of Atari and a world authority on computer gaming, presented an epitaph for the classroom when he opened the two-day Game Based Learning 2009 Conference in London yesterday (March 19). “The classroom died as a concept 12 years ago,” he said. “There are so many things wrong with the classroom that, unless we evolve to the next plateau, we will never fix education in a real way.
“Second, teaching has to fundamentally evolve into a mentoring one-on-one relationship rather than one-to-many. Third, the virtual classroom, the virtual tools that everybody deals with, have to be part of any curriculum.”
Bushnell should well know how enticing games are to people of all ages. In the meantime, I’ve been following a discussion on Twitter around a blog post by Mr. Kimmi titled Taught Versus Learn, A Distinguishing Factor. There is such a disconnect between teachers and the way many other professionals work. The tech folks I know all have a project going on the side. They are not waiting for the teacher but doing and trying and getting help from Google searches. Meanwhile, we are working with teachers in K-12 who are waiting for someone to show them how to open PowerPoint or get the digital photo off their camera.
One of the realizations that came to me when I did a presentation a few months ago to 9th graders is that this is the first generation that will never have to say “I don’t know.” They have Google and Wikipedia and their PLNs on their phones and with them everywhere they go. Surely all education will have to change…