Thursday, February 8, 2007

PSP's in the classroom

While catching up on my Bloglines account, I saw that my friend Steve Dembo had recently posted that "Teachers at Maplesden Noakes School in the UK are using the Sony PSP in the classroom for a variety of educational purposes." His post reminded me of an article I read in January about a PE teacher who had secured a grant to get PSP's into her classroom. What a great idea.... get the kids sweating without them realizing that they exercising. Here's the link to the article.

This is all very timely given the near national crisis we are beginning to hear a lot about: childhood obesity. Poor eating habits combined with inactivity are leading to an epidemic of negative health consequences. It's all over the news these days (did anyone else see Richard Simmons on The Today Show this morning talking about this very issue?). Doctors are talking about it, parents are talking about it, schools are talking about it.... how do we get kids more active and how do we train them to make better food choices? Here's a great example of thinking outside of the box. With only a $550 grant, this teacher was able to bring new life into her class by reaching the kids through a game they play in their free time and view positively, as something FUN to do.

I think this is the new challenge in education. We don't need to change the fundamentals that need to be taught. We need to change the context in which are teaching those fundamentals. When I was teaching, my favorite lessons were those that took on a life of their own... the energy in the classroom would build and build, the kids were excited, they started asking questions about the concept (not about how it would be graded, etc)... they truly WANTED to know more about the concept (ie... to learn), but didn't realize they were learning because they were having so much FUN.

Kudos to Sandy Hopkins, PE Teacher at Delaware Trail Elementary School and to the teachers of Maplesden Noakes in the UK for making learning fun by bringing PSP's into instruction! It's so exciting to see these creative, innovative approaches to learning.

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