[cross-posted at the TechLearning

I’m in the midst of reading Clark Aldrich’s Simulations
and the Future of Learning
. As Aldrich walks me through the process of
developing a leadership simulation, he has a number of interesting things to say
about video game and simulation design. Thanks to Aldrich’s clear and engaging
prose, I’m finding myself unexpectedly captivated by the nitty-gritty of the
workflow of simulation production.

So far the statement that has resonated with me the most, however,
pertains as much to education as it does to the gaming industry. Aldrich

The goal of learning in any organization (business, educational,
governmental) should be to make its members more productive (p.

I’ll agree with that. And I probably would add to the end of that statement
… and more powerful.” I think that additional phrase takes the edge
off what might be construed as a focus solely on preparation for work and
expands it to include personal empowerment.

Productive and powerful. Isn’t that what we want
for the children in our schools? Isn’t that we want for the educators with whom
we work? Productive and powerful. I like it.

We have 50 million public school
in the United States. Are the thousands of worksheets that they
will complete in their lifetime making them more productive? Are their countless
hours of individual seat work going to lead to greater personal empowerment? Are
they getting opportunities to be both productive and powerful on a regular

What about our subpopulations? Are socioeconomically-disadvantaged students
often getting the chance to be powerful? Do our students with disabilities or
our students whose primary language is not English have multiple, ongoing
opportunities to feel like they are productive, contributing members of our

What about our 3 million public
school teachers
? Are the tens of millions of hours that they spend in staff
development and training each year actually making them more productive? Do you
think the bulk of them feel empowered by their ‘learning opportunities?’

Do we regularly ask ourselves these kinds of questions in our school
organizations? As educators, should we?

I have some hard thinking to do about my own graduate classes and degree
programs here at Iowa State