Minimally invasive technology

The next quotation I used in my conference talk actually came from Scott Thornbury's talk at the IH Barcelona conference last year, in which he talked about "minimally invasive education" and discussed Sugata Mitra's Hole in the Wall experiments.

Technology too should be "minimally invasive", though there is always the danger that classroom technology will take over, if we let it, and things like the interactive whiteboard will become the focus of attention, rather the learners and the learning.

Task
As a group, play an online game… slowly

3rd World Farmer: can you make the right choices to actually survive and keep your family alive?

With small groups of 6-8 adults, if possible all using the same computer, with one learner operating the keyboard and mouse, play the game, with a single rule: no clicks can be made until there is group consensus on what our strategy is to be.

Another game the task works well with is Spent and (though it's not actually a game) a similar technique can be used with How many slaves work for you?.

Commentary
With adults (including 1-to-1), the task works excellently, as such games give lots of ground for discussion of tactics that will/won't work and possible consequences, etc., and thus lots of opportunity for interaction, use of language and discussion.

With teens it doesn't work so well, as they tend to be in more of a hurry to click and obtain instant gratification.

But, I would suggest, with any classroom technology, a rough estimate of clicks per minute is a useful indicator of how much real interaction we're generating: the more clicks per minute, the less language being used, the less interaction we get, and the more technology has invaded.

Related post
Minimally invasive interactive whiteboards

Introduction | One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten

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One Comment

  1. You will find lots more on online games for language learning on Kyle Mawer and Graham Stanley's digitalplay.info and in the book by the same authors Digital Play.

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