Ok for my class this week I had to play an online game and then relate it to learning. Flashback - last week we learned about "FLOW". This concept I get and completely understand. I find myself in a "FLOW" state while running and while reading. I was excited to maybe experience this state while at my desk playing a game. Before I opened the app Kingdom Rush, I reflect on the fact that the last time I played a video game - it was Asteroids on my very cool Atari system with a joystick and a single red button...so gamer I am not. I was worried and anxious about playing. At this moment I understand how the student in my 7th grade English class felt last week. He does not play Minecraft and, as a class, we had just started playing a survival game based on the novel Hatchet. He complains about the assignment and I assumed it was because the assignment was creative in nature and outside his comfort zone. Now I understand it was the thought of playing an unknown game and not understanding it.
Flashforward - I am at my desk playing this game. I hate it. It is dumb. I do not understand it. I am bad at it. I cannot make it work right. All my other classmates are like "this is awesome" - "I got to level 8967 on the first day" and I am over here like "those dog things keep eating my fighters"....I never found the FLOW - in fact I want to go for a run and I just finished a half-marathon yesterday for heaven's sake!!
So what did I learn....
Two hours later:
I was at home explaining to my husband how frustrating and "stupid" that gaming experience was. Just a normal venting situation. He smiled and said - "now you know how we feel"......WHAT? I didn't understand what he was saying. He went on to explain that one of my sons and he feel like this in many situations and that another of my sons and I never understand that feeling because everything comes naturally. I was floored - and needed further explanation. He went on to explain that things come naturally to me - I decide to take up running and now I am training for a full marathon - I want to further my education and the I pass the classes. I countered that I work hard at those things - he countered with "yes, you do but most people do and some still do not succeed. Some people find tasks much harder than you do. You need to understand that."
I am pretty sure that this was not the outcome that Dr. Z had envisioned for this gaming module, but it is true. I need to be more aware when a task is difficult for a student, and they, in turn, are avoiding it. I need to understand that in my own children as well as my students.