Day 155 – TedxKids@Brussels, part 4

My final part, the end of the day…..

Now, Gabe Zichermann, from Gamification, certainly got Jules and I thinking much more positively about Gaming on the Internet!

Yes supposedly games will help our kids, not turn them into brainless monsters!

First off, research shows that grey matter is increased by the act of learning, and juggling.  One example is that children who are multi-lingual (and therefore are used to switching language in their brains) outperform the norm by 15%.  Ananth Pai, spent two decades bringing technology into businesses to improve performance.  He switched careers and is now an elementary school teacher in the US who has introduced a game based curriculum into his classroom and found that it increased the students intelligence significantly.

Video games actually present continual learning and multitasking, as you move through the levels.  I liked the slide below, including the interruption (usually provided by us adults!)

Ok at the end of the day, any child over-gaming, or involved in violent or non-appropriate games, is certainly not going to gain, and more likely suffer as a result.  But it has made me question my dislike of computer games vs. my apparent acceptance of tv (which is probably based on my own childhood, and with little understanding of the gaming of the future).  I liked the closing comment from Gabe, get into the game with your kids, don’t fight it, understand it and share it.  Sitting reading with a cup of tea on Sundays doesn’t work for these guys (although my son has his head in a book all week whenever he has a spare moment)….. I certainly shocked my kids this weekend by asking what they were playing and sitting with them for 10 minutes!!  Next step join in?  We’ll see!

……

Next up, Mark Surman, from the Modzilla Foundation, talking about Hackasaurus

Mark is a lover of tinkering about, started in his punk rock youth, where he enjoyed creating photocopy art – rip it up and recreate.  He still continues to do that today, in his drive to open up and make the web easy to personalise.  One example is Hackasaurus, another is Scratch.

Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web. As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

Hackasaurus, makes it easy to remix and change any web page like magic. Or create your own.  Easy for kids to follow, this is one you have to look up, and was a real favourite in the kids workshops.  I’m even committed this week to having a go to create my own web browser.  Will keep you posted on my re-tinker-ification!

……

Alyson Schafer then came back on stage to give her feedback on the Kids Workshops.

Her feedback included that the kids had definitely had a great day, and that they enjoyed the chance to be active and consuming, and not passive.  They had shown their love of building and creating, and been given the chance to step away from the nanny state that we so often create around them.  Kids should be allowed To Do, to be noisy, but also need to know when to stop.  Alyson pointed out that kids loved having the freedom, but immediately respected the facilitators when things had to be brought to a close.  When you have a good teacher, you perform better, you respect them, and you drive yourself forwards.  You listen.  Learning should be a process that kids love so much, they never want to stop.  Today they had an educational chance through play, something that we often don’t think of as they reach 10 and 11 years old.  All of them faced the challenges and worked together as a team.  I liked the quote from one of the kids, that ‘ no one was in charge, no actually, we were all in charge!’

An interesting point that Alyson came back to again and again, was ‘don’t be finite, learning never finishes’.  There is a tendency to be too praise focused nowadays, rather than encouraging.  Accept and praise that a kid has worked hard, not that they are smart.  If you are smart, you can sit back….

Parents definitely need to engage in the acedemic process, but not by controlling.  Again a quote to think about ‘Responsible mothers raise irresponsible kids’.  Mums particularly need to let go, put the responsibility ball down and let them pick it up!  (that is one to dwell on!)

….

And then onto the Grande finale………..  the kids joined us to listen to Mysto and Pizzi’s mix of the 15 second loops the kids had created.  Really cool to see how excited the kids were and how they recognised their own electronic loops.  I have been badgered for days to find a program on the internet to create their own music!

……

So a fair bit of food for thought, some nice take-outs for understanding life with kids today, and something I hope to build on in the future……..

Next up, back to home basics with my chicken blog part 2!!

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