In the New York Times Magazine this weekend, Sara Corbett profiles schooling using video games to alleviate a growing problem in the classroom: boredom. She cites studies claiming boredom is one of the largest factors in increasing drop out rates. The disparity between media usage inside and outside the classroom has exponentially widened, distancing the classroom from “reality.”
In the movie “Objectified”, one of the interviewed designers makes a retrospective point about digital cameras. He asks, “Why are they the same shape and size as their film cousins?” The shape of the film cameras was dictated by the film used. Now that we don’t have film, there’s no reason for the form factor to continue. We should revisit and re-evaluate the archetype.
Similarly, Corbett makes the same point about education.
WHAT IF TEACHERS GAVE UP the vestiges of their educational past, threw away the worksheets, burned the canon and reconfigured the foundation upon which a century of learning has been built? What if we blurred the lines between academic subjects and reimagined the typical American classroom so that, at least in theory, it came to resemble a typical American living room or a child’s bedroom or even a child’s pocket, circa 2010 — if, in other words, the slipstream of broadband and always-on technology that fuels our world became the source and organizing principle of our children’s learning?
Education has yet to make use of the new tools borne of technology boom. Within the tension between new media and old education are enormous opportunities that will have dramatic impact on students’ live and ultimately the well being of the American economy. Like digital cameras and education, disruptive ideas are bound to be discovered when new technologies allow for archetypes to be abandoned in favor of something better.