Roger keeps on teaching

I’ve sung the praises of Roger Wagner on this blog many times before.  I attribute his philosophy and the design of Hyperstudio and how it empowers students as shaping a great part of my philosophy about technology in education.

As I mentioned in this blog post, Roger and I have met before and have caught up online.

It was indeed a long time ago but once I realized what Hyperstudio could do for students making and creating their own projects, I was hooked.  It was a far more satisfying educational experience than some of the other things that sold themselves to education and were akin to worksheets gone electronic.  Or something designed for business that we somehow convince ourselves is sound for education.

I’ve done so many workshops, at so many different levels, with Hyperstudio over the years – including the infamous “The Answer to Every Question is Hyperstudio” at a Western RCAC Conference with a colleague.

As if you couldn’t use Hyperstudio in today’s “making” environment, Roger has introduced us to Hyperduino which, of course, I had to try and blog about.

Roger is supporting this with a Facebook group Hyperstudio and Hyperduino Central.  Absolutely, I’m a member.

A recent post by Jon Ophoff really intrigued me so I shared it.  You can read about it and see a short YouTube video.

Anyway, all this background is a lead up to a conversation between Roger and myself where he got to what some might think is semantics and others might think is the essence of technology in education.  I think that his description says it all.

It was a private conversation so, out of respect, I won’t quote it here.  But the heart of it boiled down to him using the term “educating” versus “educational” when describing projects.  Sure, it’s just two words.  But when you think about it, the difference between the two of them speak volumes.

Think of the projects that your students create and then answer this question.

Are they “educational” or are they “educating”?

I think we’re quick to brand anything that could be used in the classroom as educational and I don’t think that there’s a need to apologize for that.  Yet, if you go a bit further and look at the projects themselves, there’s a different when a project becomes educating.  It’s also an important concept for those who would use consumer products like the iPad and dip into the Apple Store with its thousands and thousands of applications.  Lots of “educational” branded stuff is available for the download.  Is it worth while?

It’s something to think about when choosing your next activities and will help to deliver on the promise.

Thanks for pushing my thinking once again, Roger.

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