Obviously, as online work slowed down due to the end of this year, there is time now to share some of my experiences that I had. I am sharing some of the books that I read because you will see in this post that most of us play together because we understand each other.
While classes have evolved from in-class to online participation, I observed a Gaussian curve distribution. Students were working on whiteboards and computers before the online transition. At that time, I was able to mix and form the teams based on certain rules. When the classes went online, the main challenges experienced by students aside from the technical aspect of using computers and laptops were the group formation for working together. Most of the assignments during one of the semesters required group work while other assignments required individual work. Students who worked individually seemed more comfortable if they had previous experience working online. Students without any previous experience working online seemed to be more interested to try to work in teams.
Then I asked my nephew who plays computer games as to how he engages online to play games with other teenagers that he has never met or known? He said that he looks for those who are competitive to form a team such that he will ensure the increased chances for success. They have rules that are established at the beginning of the game and they all play by engaging, listening, following each other. They play for fun and that makes the main difference between learning and playing for fun.
Can we then make the learning fun? Yes, we do have many ways to engage through technologies and software/apps. Yet, the question still remains about winning? What do students win when they learn versus when playing for fun? Most students take courses, certificates, etc. for being hired in positions. So, they will gain knowledge and skills, but there are no measures now about know how well will they play in teams since the education system does not measure the playing factor in Assignments, quizzes, tests, performances. We do not measure how well a student performs in teams. The question is why not?
Since companies only exist for as long as they are profitable and have customers to buy their products/services the question is whether Education as a system really delivers on the promises if there are important skills required that have never been taught, verified, measured, improved, etc. during the learning. Yes, we do measure the outcomes as better performance when students work in some teams, but the criteria are quite poorly developed.
What type of changes do we need to make? The societies need to understand where the shortcomings are in the education system, therefore we will need to measure, quantify, qualify the online engagement and performances such that we will have an increased level of transparency as to how well the integration process really happens between generations, among generations, between technologies versus no technologies. We are all in a learning process that has to be transparent while engaged.