Looks Like Bridge, but it is Really Learning

One of my bridge, the card game, partners recently made a bid which was correct but in the wrong context.

She has the knowledge of the bid and what it means but was using it in the wrong place. She had 2 pieces of knowledge but did not have the required understanding to realise what her bid meant in that circumstance. She had the knowledge but not the understanding.

I have been thinking about this difference, knowing and understanding, for a while and how one moves from knowing to understanding. Checking understanding is reasonably easy – in the bridge context we just see if the bids are correct in the context of the bridge conversation, which clearly describes the cards one holds. Understanding is best checked in context, by application – by doing. Preferably in as close a situation to the “real” context as possible.

So in thinking about how to move from my partner’s current knowledge to understanding three things are needed:

Additional knowledge – what is the context in which the bid is the correct bid?

Additional knowledge – why is the bid she made no accurately describing her hand in the context she made the bid?

Additional knowledge – that bidding is a conversation and she needs to think about what her bid says to me,not just remember, misremember, a rule for bidding.

And to secure that understanding we need practice in a real bridge game.

That’s a good model for learning, I believe.

Virtual Reality in School

I have recently purchased a virtual reality headset – an Oculus Quest. I previously owned an Oculus Rift. The clarity of the Rift was ok, but not great. Reportedly the Quest is a level up.

I have been wanting to explore how virtual reality and augmented reality could improve learning in schools.

One issue is the same one that was apparent when secondary school were given one Pet computer. How on earth would one make use of one computer for many hundreds of pupils? It was not great and it meant that computing became an activity for a few self-selecting pupils.

The big breakthrough was with the government scheme introducing BBC micros into schools in decent numbers. Computer rooms sprang up and computing and Information and Communication Technology became a subject. ICT co-ordinators were appointed. Lost of cash was spent.

I enjoyed these ‘toys’ and moved from Science and maths teaching into ICT teaching. I also became the Principal Moderator for the largest ICT exam in the country.

Virtual reality seems to open up a whole world, literally, of experiences for children – BUT the headsets are expensive, cumbersome and do you really want someone else’s sweat on your head using the VR headset after they have been playing Beat Saber? (Google it.)

It is hard to see how VR becomes a school ‘thing’ with the current hardware but once experienced it is unbelievable.

Is VR like the old Pet computer? Does it just need more headsets? Is there a new ICT revolution coming?

Think about being able to experience anything. Literally move around inside a nuclear reactor and take a look into the core. Transport to the moon and anywhere…

Do really really dangerous things in complete safety but in such realism that the shock might… No, don’t go there.