Monday, December 28, 2009

Are We Having Fun Yet?

One of the reasons I love web 2.0 tools like PhotoPeach, Blabberize and Masher, is that they are FUN! Lots of technology is inherently motivating for kids - witness their preoccupation with mobile phones, re-mixing music and videos, and involvement in digital worlds like Second Life.

When we're teaching kids, I think it's really important to remember that if something is fun, kids are more likely to want to do it again. Not all learning is going to be fun for everyone - but if we want to motivate a student of any age, finding a way for them to enjoy their lessons works. When we show kids how to express themselves via web 2.0 tools, suddenly they have a valid reason for practising all sorts of literacy skills
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Here's a video that I believe illustrates my point. This is a part of a Volkswagen initiative, Thefuntheory.com, "dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better."



I can tell you right now those stairs would have me ignoring the escalator!

The other factor I've found that motivates my own learning is purpose. If I have a valid reason to learn something, I am much more likely to stick with it. I might take little bites at it, wander off for a break, but soon return and keep plugging away until I have mastered enough of a skill for my purpose. This is the case for me with so much software I want to get my head around. If I can incorporate fun into it, so much the better. Fun might be watching a video tutorial, getting together with a friend who can help, finding a lesson with a cool end product I will really enjoy.

Kids are no different - incorporating fun and real purpose into what we want them to learn really does help.

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