Is Learning a Job?

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By George Cognet
Department Chair, Computer Information Systems
Delaware Technical Community College
Owens Campus

I have been in the field of technology for over 33 years. Although some may call it work, for me, it is not.

Instead it has been 33 years of having fun, playing with “new technologies”, and getting paid for it–call me a geek.

Over this many years, I have also served as a manager supervisor and adjunct technology instructor. In these roles, when I counseled my staff or students on what career path to choose, or how to get promoted, I have always told them not to focus on the money, but instead to pick something for which they have passion–something they enjoy.

In an interview, the late comedian George Burns was once asked about the secret to his longevity and the ability to keep up work as a comedian at his age. He answered that he has never worked a day of his life because what he did was fun and he loved doing it.

If you have fun at what you do and have passion for it, then everything will be easier to do, people will notice, and money will follow.

Therefore, now as a full-time instructor, I ask myself the same questions every day:

How can I make my classroom and learning about technology fun for my students?

How can I get them to have passion for learning?

The latter is more difficult to accomplish, but for the former, I have realized that one way to make my class fun while helping my students learn is by playing games in the classroom. However, I have struggle with this idea because I am not a game player, I am not very creative at designing games, nor am I very good at playing games.

When my daughter was little and we went on trips all the games we played were math games or spelling games. Today, at 20 years old she is very good in math and very good at spelling. But I do not think this would work with my students.

Fortunately for me, as part of the New Faculty Development Program at Delaware Tech, I worked on a team project that introduced me to several teacher resources that provide free tools for using games in the classroom. For example, the Super Teacher Tools Jeopardy Game allows you to develop a Jeopardy review game for your class. You can create your own questions from scratch or you can choose to search for games created by other teachers like you.

The site offers many other popular TV Game Shows, such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire, that your students will recognize and will have fun playing while learning and reviewing their school work. Even instructors like myself, that are not game savvy can now make their classroom fun and prepare student-centered lessons plans that make use games as learning activities.

 

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