Picture by Foxtongue.
I don’t know if we’ve ever really listened to kids, but it seems to me that these days we have the opportunity and plenty of need to listen (even without them knowing) and have what they say dramatically improve what we do as teachers.

In a recent post by Artichoke (I just can’t get enough from this mysterious person) a conversation followed when I offered a link to the US research paper Digital Disconnect, talking about kid’s impressions of whether school is relevant or not.

I have proposed before, that we need much more of this type of research, and Art’ sent me off to have a look at an attempt at this in New Zealand. But I got a similar impression to Art’:

They sounded much like a “guess what the teacher wants” interviewee response – a giving the interviewer what we think he/she wants to hear stuff. Wonder how they conducted the interviews, individual or focus groups. Have issues with the validity of focus group interviews.

But that’s where the US paper is different, in that it largely rang true my experiences talking with kids… Art went on to blog her very interesting conversation with a kid who was into Warcraft, which has led Art into an ongoing exploration of edugaming, and renewed my interest in any forms of participatory action research with kids in schools.

Michael Nelson was certainly miles ahead in the thinking, when he proposed months ago now, that we might tap into the technorati tags to seek frank and open remarks from students about their impressions of school. To me, Michael’s suggestion hits home in regard to the value of kids engaged in the read write web. Soon enough (if we can get access for kids to writing to the Net that is) we won’t need to send out stale impersonal surveys, you can just tap into the conversation and listen – with open hearts and minds I prey.

It’s well worth following Art’s links from our discussion following her post. It has some rich insight from kids, and analysis of some of the educational attributes of some games.

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