Asking Children with Special Needs to Fail is No Way to Learn
Notice this news release:
During a major international conference on education in Barcelona this month, there was some good news about educational design for children with special needs. The findings of an ambitious design competition run by MindShift and Spain’s top education institution, Grupo Meso, indicated that learning should be more personalized. Two scientists describe a powerful and simple tool called a DIE (Digital Instructional Environments), and two former MIT students have created an inventive word game to teach information retention skills.
The dream of making learning ever more personalized will undoubtedly come true when we have the technology to make learning games more pleasant and challenging. That is, if the creative minds of these designers are any indication, they will be!
I watched this video of each of the game designers at the conference talking about their games. There was also a discussion at the event about what could be done about the state of education today.
In earlier posts I have expressed my disdain for Dr. Julie Belcim’s approach to planning education, A Tale of Two Cities. Last week in another post, I expressed my concern about the academic neglect of children who have special needs. For those of you interested in learning how to talk to a child with autism, you can also find that post here.
With the growing need for personalized learning, we would do well to remember that challenges to learning present opportunities to learn in new ways.
Taking lessons from these designers for the future
Here is some inspiration from these designers for what may be in the future of games and learning:
• The DIE (Digital Instructional Environments) on CBS TV in recent months has educated more than one million young people who were poor learners. The DIE begins with an independent practice practice game using touchscreens. That was the obvious element of the design. What was less obvious was that the PIR (Prescribed Activity Planners) were activated into the games using the DIE platform. That was the next step in design. DIE games gave the key features of learning while the PIRs provided the strategy for accomplishing the key features. This was the design for the big prize at the innovation competition, a new type of learning tool that shows the possibilities of teaching special needs learners in fun, innovative ways.
• The word game was an experience similar to games such as Battleship. It started with an introduction of the word on a tablet. Depending on where the player clicked the screen, the right word appeared. That was the clever concept of content-based learning and concepts related to individual learning. The player then did the same with multiple colors to build connections that could get a child beyond the initial word.
• An “adventure” was developed to be aimed at children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It showed how to practice strategic thinking and context setting. Along the way the player learned not only the strategic game, but also the origins of the brain and memory itself.
Many educators emphasize creativity and creativity in education. This test of expertise allows us to find out just how creative is too creative for children with special needs.
MindShift is expanding in education. In March 2016, we will open a flagship center for MindShift, our first flagship center in the United States. We are excited about that. We are looking forward to our continued growth in this area.
This is what art can do!
To learn more about MindShift’s free Kids ‘N Games program and to enter our kids ‘n games for children with special needs competition, visit http://www.mindshiftkids.co….
MindShift wanted to broaden its research in education. So, we ran an international design competition to discover interesting and unique ways to design lessons for young people with special needs. The Department of Education of Madrid chose four winners from a field of 12. The winners’ games will be installed in the Department of Education, University of Madrid. Two researchers from the Department of Education, University of Madrid gave a talk on their design project and education efforts.
Interesting graphics and typography of the Daily Press through the years