Saturday, March 10, 2007

RE: Polychrons and Our Classrooms"

A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled, Distractions in the Wireless Classroom led to a post on the blog Ed Tech Journeys titled "Polychrons and Our Classrooms" and my response (see comments at the Ed Tech blog link) .

My post on the SLED listserv in its entirety:
K.Becker wrote:
>Again, the skill of being able to listen to music, surf the
web, IM to
friends and talk on the phone and do some homework all at the
same time
does not automatically translate into group presentation skills.
they are nervous. Perhaps they have not seen the desired
modeled. <

They are not nervous... The correct term is "Polychron".
Related links here and here.
Developed from Edward Hall's theory of Polychronic Time here.

The idea of education as Entertainment is now dated. This
generation of students IS the Gamer Generation, the Live Net
Generation... whatever you'd like to call it, it is highly interactive.
At home on their phones and computers and gaming platforms they are
learning new ways to network, collaborate, and research without even
knowing it. MMO's, Xbox, and text messaging (even MySpace now) have
synchronous forms of communication often with high-context relationships
and may require a great deal of multi-tasking.

Replace "entertain the student" with Engage the Student.
Beck and Wade talk about this in [their book] Got Game.

Give them strategy guides, clear and achievable goals, a reward
system that appeals to their sense of reputation. Give them passion and
energy and yes, real world application. Entertainment is passive.
Engagment is interactive.

If I've had to change something... it's an expectation that the
"desired" behavior was Monochronic.

I am very interested in anyone doing research in this area. I
work in the Studio Art discipline, which in many ways can be a platform
for new methodology (although consistently uses convergent thinking at
the lower levels).
I want to know... what does a polychronic classroom look like?
Is it completely digital? With SL, IM, Sype, and Google all open and
working? Is it class that does not have a set time to meet, but rather a
specific set of goals that must be accomplished using a highly networked
collaboration of students with the teacher as 'game master'? Can the
monochron, or normative student, work asynchonously contributing at
regularly scheduled times while the polychron is always interacting but
not always contributing?

Personally I believe myself to be somewhere between these two
ends as I'm sure many of you are. I believe, the key to the polychronic
classroom is a highly motivated individual with an ability for both
modes of operation. Otherwise, we'd have to identify and seperate each
type of student.

And I think they saying goes, "Don't put all your polychrons in
one basket."
Read this and you see how easily technology fits in a lecture… let alone a polychronic classroom.

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