Friday, January 09, 2009

THE ARMY MIGHT BE ON TO SOMETHING

Open Education has a story, with accompanying MSNBC video, of the Army's new approach to recruitment. The $13 million Army Experience Center in A Philadelphia mall replaced five traditional recruitment stations and so far the single Center is bringing in the same numbers. How do they do it?

The new mall installation is the size of three basketball courts, with a Humvee and a Blackhawk simulators, and rows of video games. There is no hard-sell, no uniforms. The recruiters wear khaki pants with black polos, and they answer questions when asked.

As Thomas opines in his post, what would happen if educators used the same techniques and technologies to make the learning environment fun? Deep sea exploration simulations, real-life mathematics applications using engineering and architecture, re-enactments of historical events – the implications are vast and … engaging.

I support using technology to meet and exceed our educational standards required by the state. It works and the research supports it. Learning does not have to be painful. Perhaps if more children enjoyed learning and were able to connect it to real life, they might come to respect and appreciate education, even to the point of seeking it out on their own.

5 comments:

Larry Litle said...

I agree completely.

mikeandmo said...

Agree.

BTW, something you said made me think -- you should check out Endless Ocean for the Wii. It's a deep sea diving simulation/game that has educational overtones. It's a good example of what you're talking about.

-Mike

Jack said...

A teacher always appreciates referrals. So thanks for that. I'll see if I can rent Endless Ocean from Blockbuster.

That makes me think of another educational project I am involved with. That group might be interested. I'll email them today.

Thanks, Mike.

Jeremy D. Young said...

I think the first step in that direction would be to make it less like a prison by repealing mandatory attendance laws.

Without involved parents (or competent guardians), no educational strategy will succeed.

As far as strategy goes, I think aims and goals need to be addressed first. Do educators know what they are trying to produce? Are too many educators convinced that they just need to follow the right steps and everything will come out OK? Do the bureaucracies inherent with government programs work to eliminate creativity in educational styles and squash teachers into a horrible one-size-fits-all mold?

Just like health care, I think we need to get the payer back directly in touch with the provider. Patients should deal directly with doctors on everything, refusing to let insurance and government bureaucracy come between them and their good health. In education, Parents, the people that must be the ones with a desire for their child's education, must deal directly with the educators so that the child receives the best possible education that the PARENTS can provide with the teachers' help.

Jack, I think you're going to be a great teacher because you have passion. I have my doubts that the bureaucracy will actually want you. I think that you will butt heads often and early with the administration, and my hope is that you find a way to live out your passion without being squashed into a little box and becoming broken in spirit. I hope that I'm over-estimating how bad it really is, but I haven't heard anything but the bad news from people that are no longer in education.

Jack said...

Thanks for the kind words, Jeremy. I know there will be administrators that will not like my approach. I'm hoping not to even bother working for them.

I hear there are schools that appreciate and enjoy creativity and ingenuity in the classroom. Principals with vision and passion. That's where I want to work. High expectations, but that's where I want to be.

We need parents and kids to care about education. It's hard to do.

Thanks for commenting.