Wednesday, December 14, 2005

And Now We Outsource Even Our Play?!

To the Chinese, of course! Somehow, the esteem-influencing properties of "ascending the ladder" (be it real or virtual), combined with a chronic inability to defer gratification, now mean that we even PAY people to play for us?! What is MOST interesting to me about this article is what it says about the blurred lines between work and play . . . play has become work (and I don't mean for the Chinese, I mean for the Americans who are applying their conceptions of success that have always permeated the workplace to their leisure time).

What does that say about the values we place on production as opposed to experience, about American psychology, about the kinds of products Americans are likely to be in need of that enterprising folks could anticipate and provide as a result of the fractures in psychological functioning that this might indicate?! Yes—the economics of the article are VERY interesting, and business people and educators alike had better watch out—the tech has given individuals a lot of power they never had before and they are using that power.

Guiding young people in the use of that power will be even MORE critical than ever before, and leads me to believe that we have to relinquish the teaching of static content (a.k.a. facts--especially since they are outdated daily anyhow) and start teaching a conceptual curriculum that can accommodate flexible thinking, that promotes problem-solving, and that gives kids significant experiences with recontextualization and transfer. It has to be a curriculum of immersion in order for them to acquire the skills they need (and yes, the parallels to second language acquisition are purposeful).

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