Some years ago I did a survey with public school teachers to see if they were using games in school, and if not, why not. Some of the obvious and significant barriers were highlighted: lack of admin support, lack of resources, lack of time to learn, etc.
The comment that still sticks with me today is this one:
As a parent I object to having my child “play” on the computer when he has completed some piece of work. I want my kids working at school. I can use computer games at home for there entertainment. I also think that “edutainment” as a name is attempting to give computer games some degree of educational value. My students come to school to learn not to be entertained. Would you want your university profs. entertaining you?
I do understand the pressure on teachers to not “waste” time, but the sentiment voiced by this teacher still lingers in the heads of many educators. As soon as we start to have too much fun, educators become suspicious that there is not enough learning happening.
I’ve even had EdTech professors tell me, quite matter of factly, that “fun” and “education” are at opposite ends of a continuum. How sad. And, might I add, WRONG. A continuum implies a 2-dimensional perspective which in turn implies that education and fun are somehow at odds – one comes at the expense of the other.
That goes a long way to explaining some of what is wrong with our formal educational system (the propensity to see things in only 2 dimensions is also a problem).
By the way, the ONLY correct answer to the teacher’s last question is YES!!! Yes I DO expect professors to entertain their students. Now, if that were ALL they did, the students would be justified in feeling cheated.
Emotion is essential to learning – we can not learn without feeling something, be it anger, fear, or joy. It’s probably unethical, in most cases to scare our students, so, make them feel happy!
But none of that pseudoteaching either. REAL learning, with REAL fun.