Think Outside the Xbox!
You may think that things like Xboxes and iPods are for fun and games, but it can help you with school and make you much smarter. That’s what I’ve learned so far at the NBC Education Nation conference in New York City. And I like what I’ve learned so far!
Today, I sat in on a conference in 30 Rock, the NBC news building in New York City, about technology in the classroom. Panelists discussed ways to get electronics into schools in a way that helps both teachers and students.
Just putting a computer in a classroom without technical support or teachers trained to use them is not enough, panelists agreed. And computer labs should be considered a thing of the past, not the future.
“Would you have a pencil lab where kids would have to go when they need to use a pencil?” asked panelist Barry Schuler of Raydiance, a company focused on developing the smallest, fastest computer technology ever. “Computers are not something separate from the students.”
He and others made the point that schools are supposed to get kids ready for the work place and that computers are used in every aspect of almost every job from the service industry to retail to manufacturing, on and on.
Some of the most exciting ideas came from right there in the audience. Suzi Levine of Microsoft, who sat right right next to me, told me about a teacher in Switzerland who teaches his students with the Xbox! He uses guitar hero to teach a variety of subjects.
For math the students are told they are rock stars and are given a budget to plan a concert tour. They have to write songs, decide how much to spend on hotels, T-shirts, and employees. They also have to plan their tour schedule. Now that’s thinking outside the Xbox!
I spoke to Scholastic CEO Dick Robinson after the discussion was over.
“I hope this conference will help bring a higher awareness of the importance of education, a higher awareness of the need to enable teachers to have the tools to do the jobs of helping the kids,” he said. “And also to need to make available the technology that every kid can use.”
So what should kids take away from the conference?
“I’d have to ask you that Kenny,” he said. “I hope that you will find out that there are a lot of adults focused on improving education for young people and working to help you become a leader for the 21st century.”
—Kid Reporter Kenny Figueroa
PHOTO: Kid Reporters Kenny Figueroa and Grace McManus listen in on a panel discussion about technology in the classroom.