The Center of EdTech Projects: Fun

#edchat #edtech #elearning  -- Let me tell you the reason why students want to learn something new that was explained to me by Dr. Shawn Carlson (www.science-project.com) many years ago, he said, “learning follows interest and interest follows fun.” Think about that statement for a moment when you consider working with young students and technology. To prove the validity of this statement let me tell you the story of Jenny.

A street basketball hoop.
Image via Wikipedia

Jenny is a junior in high school who loves to play basketball, a sport that she is really good at. However, like many students she wasn’t always good at basketball, so how did she get to where she is today? To understand why she has put in countless hours into practicing her sport, you need to go back to the beginning of her story.

One day when Jenny was in the second grade she saw some fifth grade students playing basketball at lunch recess. The kids were laughing and smiling as they played the classic basketball game of Horse. She remembers one girl who would try the strangest shots to try and throw off her classmates. She would stand with her back to the net and flip the ball up into the air, or she would take a shot with her eyes shut. Sometimes she would even make the shot, which would result in cheers from the young spectators. The points is, Jenny perceived basketball as being fun.

Now that she thought basketball was fun, she was interested in learning more about it. That Christmas she asked her parents for a basketball, which she took to school everyday starting in the spring. At recess she would practice with her friends, soon the older students were giving her pointers. In the fourth grade she learned the rules of basketball in gym class, but by this time she was already good at dribbling and shooting. Something that her gym teacher noticed right away and encouraged here to attend a basketball camp in the summer.

By the time Jenny entered the fifth grade, she had become the girl that she has seen in the second grade. She was laughing with her friends playing Horse while making unusual shots with the younger students cheering her on.

Learning follows interest and interest follows fun.

Unbelievable tech projects should be fun. But does that mean we turn each project into a circus just so that our students are having fun? No. Fun does not mean goofing off. Fun means enjoyable. Which is why when I start to plan a new project I try to look at through the eyes of a student. For example, in second grade I need to teach how to make a digital presentation. So what would a second grader find fun with learning how to make a presentation? With a little more digging I found out that they are going to study about Ancient India in their regular classroom. After collaborating with the second grade team we came up with a great project that would allow the students to make a fun presentation about Ancient India, complete with incredible images and narration.

When I introduced the project to the students; that they would be searching the Internet for images, using Google Earth, and recording their own voices to narrate a presentation about Ancient India, they cheered. They knew they were about to do something fun and they were interested in learning more.

Learning follows interest and interest follows fun.

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