Sunday, August 26, 2007

Darren's "Mind Control"

Darren Kuropatwa got my attention with this video and I'm not sure what I think about it. Neurosky is only one company developing this type of human/machine interface - gracious me oh my!

CyberLearning Technology is already marketing systems for home use, targeting among others, those who have trouble focusing. Will this "game controller" help my students learn to concentrate in a world that is so full of 30-second sound bytes?

Just as we train our bodies by focus and repetition, doesn't it make sense that we can train our minds by focus and repetition? Will this "mind control" lead to solutions for students who have great difficulty keeping their minds on the task at hand? Just because the kids might be using the device to play a game doesn't mean they aren't learning to stay on track.

As always, in the Art of Teaching we must help our students transfer the skills they have learned in one area to another. How many times has the Math teacher heard, in response to a request to read a particular article, "But this isn't Reading class!" And when the Reading teacher suggests that students calculate their current grade averages by themselves, the cry rises up, "What do you mean? This isn't Math class!" Perhaps we are moving from an era of using sports analogies to inspire our students to an era of using gaming analogies? I can hear them now... "Miss! You're too old to be a gamer!"

I don't know what impact this technology is going to have in the next five years, but this is what our students will be living. How do I prepare them for a world I have trouble imagining? I'll have to think about it while I maneuver my dwarven mage to his next level in Last-Outpost!

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