How We Learn

by Jess Brown

My kids, especially my 7 year old, have recently gotten into video games. It's a struggle to regulate the appropriate amount of time he should or shouldn't be spending. My wife and I are still trying to formulate a plan we think is reasonable and good for him. But that's a different story.

What I wanted to share is something I found really cool. One of the video games is called Farm Simulator. As you might guess, it puts the player in the role of a farm owner. You have to manage money, planting, harvest, workers, equipment, etc. It's actually a pretty cool game and teaches some basic business skills in addition to the entertainment. Well, along with "playing" the video games, he likes to look up videos of other people playing the games on YouTube. People who can record their screen will record the game and narrate what they're doing.

My son first starting doing this the first of this summer while we were on vacation. We didn't bring any games, but did have the iPad, so he would watch the videos during free time. What was cool was he started seeing all of the cool tricks and things he wanted to try when he got back. But, he was afraid he wouldn't remember them.

This was a perfect opportunity to introduce the pocket journal I had brought for him. I'm a big fan of writing and wanted start sharing the benefits of it with him. So he starts jotting down notes and before the trip is over, he can't wait to get back and try all of the cool tricks he had written down.

One interesting trick he found was how to hack the bank account for his farm and increase the money to whatever he wanted, which would allow him to buy whatever expensive tractor or equipment he wanted to try out. We had to actually help him with the details, but he found it and knew how to use it...I was pretty impressed.


I have a few takeaways from this experience.

How amazing the internet is. I've said before, I've gotten an additional degree free from the internet. I now make a living programming software 100% learned from teaching myself online.

How cool is it that others are willing to share what they learn. What can I be sharing today to help others?

How will the internet change education in the future? Will traditional education adopt more self taught, hands on learning methods. We don't all learn the same way, but we're almost all taught the same way in early education.

There's something really cool about having a fascination and enthusiasm about something and a desire to learn it, and then given the opportunity and means to figure it out. That's one thing I love about my job. I'm essentially given that opportunity on a daily basis. Sometimes I may bang my head against the desk trying to figure out a problem, but eventually the satisfaction and reward of hard work pay off.

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