Sunday, February 17, 2013

Everyday Learning via Multiple Media

How often do you learn from YouTube?  You have a curiosity, or you need a quick tutorial, maybe a product review, and you YouTube it. Me? Maybe twice a week.  This is technology-assisted adult education in everyday life.  Case in point:

My son Jasper and I are playing Lego Harry Potter, Years 1-4 on the Wii. Jasper is almost five and he loves Legos. I'm an overgrown kid who loves Harry Potter (though, not really in video game form).  He can't figure out how to find all the ingredients for the cauldron that will give us some special ability so we can open a door and move on to the next stage (and he's a little challenged by two controllers with all their buttons), so I'm basically playing the game for him and impressing the heck out of my son (he takes over during fights - his favorite part).

Jasper playing World of Goo, an endlessly fascinating game.
When I get stuck in these video games, and I can't walk my son through the valuable reasoning lessons that make video games such immersive learning experiences, I then model my researching skills. Yes. I YouTube it and find that several people have uploaded screen-casts of their quick run-thrus of the video game stages that give me fits.
In this case, I just pull out my phone and next thing you know, I'm watching a YouTube video that shows me what I'm missing in the video game so I can move forward. Jasper looks over my shoulder and sees the object of his affection on my phone's screen.

"Ohhh, you're playing the game on your phone, Daddy!"

No, I'm watching a movie of the game.

"Ohhh, you're beating! You're going to win, Daddy."

It's just a video of someone else playing.  It's not me.

"Hey, you just finished it!  You win, Daddy."

No. Daddy didn't win. Daddy is cheating.

Then, I resume the Wii game and show Jasper the missing element that I picked up from the YouTube video and we talk about problem solving.  I told him that Daddy had to look up the answer this time, but now I understand, and I'll be better equipped to solve these sorts of problems in the future.

Jasper doesn't care. It's bedtime and he doesn't want to go. When will we get to play more video games?  Soon.  If only there were more time for gaming, for hunting down solutions, but when there is time, the learning takes place using a variety of media.  Sometimes the instruction booklet helps, or online discussion forums, websites with complete game walkthrus, and then there's the YouTube videos. 

What's the point of this blog post? It's really just a forecast: Expect more posts about informal everyday online learning (and mobile learning!) and also about the inspiration and example that video games provide for better modes of learning, even in adult education. 

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