Monday, October 15, 2007

i can kick your ass @ intellivision football














Growing up, you probably had a prized possession; some product of consumerism and conspicuous consumption that defined the retail soul of your being.

For me, it was my Intellivision Game System; specifically, Intellivsion Football. I would challenge my father, a man who grew up around football, and every time the end result was lopsided.

81- 3. 75 - 9. Something squared - 7. And my father would always play, although I'm sure it must have irked him in some places of his being that his skinny, soccer-playing, 11 year old son had his number. Sometimes, I would sit side by side with the TV, and although I could not see the screen, I would still beat him. Those were the days, but thank you Natalie Merchant, for these are the days.

Days like today. When I have a captive audience. When I present Classrooms for the Future to my faculty over the course of five, fifty-minute cycles, fifteen teachers per session. I 'ew' and 'ah' them with my wiki. They marvel over polldaddy. And I have no adjectives to describe the gaper-delay like awe that overcomes them when they see an embedded slideshow instead of a PowerPoint icon.

But the prize for them came in the latter twenty minutes, when I introduced them to social bookmarking and del.icio.us. They were a willing audience (all but one) and they registered, installed extensions, tagged a site, and added someone to their once unpopulated network (oh...me!).

So now time is tick-tick ticking away and it's time for my conclusion; my teacher-led moment of instruction (Dear Warl-ck, Forgive Me, For I Have Instructed in A Teacher-Centered Fashion!). I tell them about my Intellivision-rich childhood. And then I ask a simple question:

Why did I kick my father's ass at the game?

And they provide the simple answer:

I played it all the time.

Bait. Yummy, delicious bait, and they eat it up.

"Delicious is, at some level, a program. Intellivision Football is a program. I beat my dad because I knew the program. I played it all the time. You have to 'play' with Delicious if you want to develop a level of comfort with it. Because when you play with it, when you take ownership over it, then you, like your students with content knowledge, will actually be able to do something meaningful with it."

I said more:

"And if you leave this room and you say to one another, 'well that was good, but when will we get to do it again?', then you haven't learned the essential skill that we so desperately want to impart to our students: self-directed, inquiry-based learning. And if that isn't a skill that you want to equip your students' with, then honestly, what are you doing?"

When I said this the first time, at the end of the first session, I felt odd, like I had over-stepped my bounds. Yet as the groups came and went, it really felt right. Like it needed to be said. Like it needed to happen.

It needs to happen.

We cannot demand inquiry-based learning from our students if we don't model the behavior, either in front of their beady little eyes or on our own.

So go learn how to use Delicious, because, in truth, you'll never beat me in Intellivsion Football.

3 comments:

Damian said...

Truly a man after my own heart. I can still hear the satisfying little "shuff" sound of the ball being hiked.

I loved Intellivision growing up. Loved, loved, loved it.

I know that wasn't the point of the post, but you're sending me off to bed on a nice little nostalgia high - thanks!

Graham said...

"... self-directed, inquiry-based learning. And if that isn't a skill that you want to equip your students' with, then honestly, what are you doing?"
That is a real money quote - one worth clipping and adding to the "Great Quotes" file in my Google Notebook. You've explained exactly why we need more than just a cursory awareness of things to do with learning - kids can smell a phoney a kilometre off.

joepet said...

Although there were no laterals in Intellivision football, there was a play where the receiver would end up waiting parallel to the line of scrimmage. I used this to run a quarterback option play that was downright unstoppable, and my college roommate could never beat me.