I came across this really interesting video of John Seely Brown on Edutopia where he talks about motivating learners. The video originally caught my eye because it is shot on Maui and well … It’s Maui … But it is what he says at about the 5:42 minute mark, as he talks about “skills” that 21st Century learners need in order to thrive in a rapidly changing world that keeps resonating in my head.
“In a world of rapid change, any particular skill that I learn is apt to have a moderately short shelf-life. So … What I really need to do is to know how to create context for myself that I keep scaffolding, and learning, and accelerating what I know to increase my own performance …”
Lots of folk out here in educationland talk about “21st Century skills” and “21st Century learning,” but they often can’t help me understand what it is that they mean. I often take that upon myself and assume that the fact that I can’t get my head around what they’re saying is my fault, but I’m coming to realize that, often, my inability to grasp their meaning is really based on the fact that they don’t really know what they mean either. I really love that in this video, he gives us a concrete example of surfers using video of themselves to learn new tricks and sharing their learning with others in their community (many of whom, I’m guessing, are their primary competitors).
I’m not a gamer, but I have a friend here at work, Mr. U., who is very excited about game-based learning and gamification. I think when it comes to game-based learning, I’m in the space that Mr. Brown describes at about the 7:30 minute mark. “What happens when things don’t work is that it frightens you … Then you’re not going to be very willing to embrace change.” I think I just need to get into a space where I shoot for something that’s a little bit frightening and then just tinker with it until we get it to work.
Otherwise, maybe retirement needs to be closer than I had expected …