Thursday, May 20, 2010

WILU 2010 Conference: Keynote address

Keynote speaker: James Paul Gee.
Libraries should be the interactive space for 21st-century learning. Games like Yu-Gi-Oh, Sims, & World of Warcraft optimize:
  • play
  • analysis of theory & practice
  • fun
  • learning ultra-technical language (despite gamers' reading level academically)
  • problem-solving
  • technical skills development
  • interaction between people of varying ages--the best learning communities are not age-related or age-limited
  • interest-driven learning--when learners design their own curriculum (as they do games)
  • role trading (leadership is distributed; eroded distinction between amateurs & professionals/experts
  • distributed knowledge --the community is the expert, not individuals
  • personal responsibility for the learning
  • clear, concise, instant, & community-based feedback
  • high tolerance for frustration and for community feedback & mentoring
  • play/learning in either virtual or physical space.
This type of learning can't happen in schools because of societal inertia & because schools are organized to create a bell-curve (i.e., some learners succeed & some fail). Schools emphasize individual, not communal learning. But libraries can facilitate 21st-century learning: libraries were behind the surge in 19th-century literacy; libraries include many learning tools; librarians are designers, team leaders, organizers of play & cooperation; they provide resources.

From gaming we know that reading levels are directly correlated to interest & knowledge. Learners can be organized by their passion for something, not age or race, etc. Everyone has a passion for something & a deep skill in it. This is a different model from the curricular model of everyone knowing the same thing.

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