On our recent driving vacation, it was quite interesting to listen to the back seat discussion from two teenagers – my daughter and a long time close family friend. As one might expect, there was lots to share, and the conversation easily wandered from topic to topic without ever missing a beat. I was interested in how various aspects of technology wove through the discussion.
This past year, each of the girls took at least one elearning course. Things they liked about the elearning environment were:
- scheduling your own time
- enjoy working online (not paper based)
- work with students with similar abilities (profiles of online learning candidates)
These girls live in a connected world. They talked about being connected, in a good way. They can barely remember not being connected. I note their keen ability to find free wifi networks to connect to. Both girls read and follow blogs. Both write their own blogs based on their own individual interests. One has a tumblr based photography blog to track and share photography of interest. The other reads and writes fan fiction, and uses other social media tools to develop an audience. Without any prompting from me, they talked about finding people with like interests, sharing and developing a “real audience” to share their interests and passions.
I couldn’t help but take note of their their ongoing but subtle search for wifi – not because they didn’t enjoy the vacation activities, but because they are passionate about this aspect of their lives. They are used to being connected with wifi at home and school. Being online is simply part of their lives.
Classroom activities need to tap student passions. I encourage all teachers to find way ways to use and leverage online sharing and collaboration tools to help capture student passion for learning.
While participating on the OTF21C panel discussion this past week, an interesting point came up. Since the discussion, I have been thinking about this: What is your online orientation?
1. Are you offline, and you choose when to go online?
2. Are you online, and you choose when to go offline?
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In a recent post, Technology enhances leisure time , I shared my experience of technology changing our approach, success and enjoyment of solving crossword puzzles. I shared this particular example because it is a good example (in my mind) of how technology can have a positive impact on something that is seemingly unrelated.
After dialoguing with a number of people after the post, I was surprised at the reaction and I thought I would share an update. I was anticipating comments about moving the puzzle solving away from the ‘pure’ form. The theme of the reactions boiled down to one common thread: Scrabble – I did not mention Scrabble in my post.
I love playing Scrabble and Scrabble like games (Lexulous, Wordscaper etc.) and they are absolutely right. Technology has changed the way people can be involved in a multitude of online recreational activities. I do not get a chance to enjoy a face to face game of Scrabble often enough, but I can play online every day – and I do!
The technology provides a way to enjoy daily interaction with friends whether they live next door, another city or country, or are travelers on the go for that matter. Plus, the technology expands the options and opportunities of communication.
- play multiple games at once
- multitask while playing
- send notes back and forth within the games
- play independent of other people’s schedules (asynchronous)
- play in real time with options to chat on and/or have a video conversation (MSN, skype etc.)
- play any where I have an internet connection
- play via a mobile device
Playing word games with family and friends is a high light in each day that I treasure and technology enabled this possibility. Lucky me! Now, I am willing to bet that one of my friends played a Scrabble move while I was typing this post. I better go check 🙂