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mercoledì 12 ottobre 2011

Dai pokemon alla filosofia

In geography – which is all but ignored these days – there is no reason that a generation that can memorize over 100 Pokémon characters with all their characteristics, history and evolution can‟t learn the names, populations, capitals and relationships of all the 101 nations in the world. It just depends on how it is presented.

We need to invent Digital Native methodologies for all subjects, at all levels, using our students to guide us. The process has already begun – I know college professors inventing games for teaching subjects ranging from math to engineering to the Spanish Inquisition. We need to find ways of publicizing and spreading their successes.

A frequent objection I hear from Digital Immigrant educators is "this approach is great for facts, but it wouldn’t work for my subject." Nonsense. This is just rationalization and lack of imagination. In my talks I now include "thought experiments" where I invite professors and teachers to suggest a subject or topic, and I attempt– on the spot – to invent a game or other Digital Native method for learning it. Classical philosophy? Create a game in which the philosophers debate and the learners have to pick out what each would say. The Holocaust? Create a simulation where students role-play the meeting at Wannsee, or one where they can experience the true horror of the camps, as opposed to the films like Schindler’s List. It‟s just dumb (and lazy) of educators – not to mention ineffective – to presume that (despite their traditions) the Digital Immigrant way is the only way to teach, and that the Digital Natives‟ "language" is not as capable as their own of encompassing any and every idea.

So if Digital Immigrant educators really want to reach Digital Natives – i.e. all their students – they will have to change. It‟s high time for them to stop their grousing, and as the Nike motto of the Digital Native generation says, "Just do it!" They will succeed in the long run – and their successes will come that much sooner if their administrators support them.

(Digital natives, digital immigrants, Marc Prensky 2001)

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