It was me;)

September 5, 2007

OK.

I got called out on something and I believe that this is a result of BTS (bad typist syndrome). As a high school student I did not learn to type and the terrible movement that I call typing does not serve me very well. So my slow typing leads me to abbreviate points that I should describe more in depth.

In my previous post I said “I have a strange feeling that middle school students would need an occasional ‘focus’ from an instructor unless the learning was in the format of a game or other interactive application,” and I know I need to explain myself a little. Maturity comes with age and we all know that it also is a result of the environment that the student was raised. Many high school students that I teach would not bring pencil and paper to class unless I required it in my syllabus.

If you leave middle school students alone they tend to lose focus without a “hook” in the instruction or an instructor who really interests them in the content.

Hooking middle school students that are not meeting face to face could most easily be achieved  via a game or interactive simulation. You could drive the pace of the instruction by requiring the students to be at a certain point at certain points of the week and check on their progress daily.

I can imagine students playing games to solve equations and receive vouchers to play other games just for fun. Simulations that would allow students to do virtual labs would be much more likely to hold middle school attention spans instead of seeing pictures of the resultant reaction.

I also need to admit that in hind sight that my statement is short sighted because given students that were educated in a purely exploratory environment, a group of middle school students could form virtual research groups in fields and blog about them. That would be the type of learning over distances thats would be meaningful to the learner and connect the learning to real life situations.

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