Education has always been important to filmmaker George Lucas, as is obvious with Edutopia, a magazine and Web site published by The George Lucas Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization that encourages the merge of education and technology.
At Salesforce.com’s annual user conference — Dreamforce — Lucas said in his keynote speech that resources are short at many public schools and often times teachers are perplexed with how to properly utilize the computers that companies donate.
cNet News reports:
Edutopia‘s focus is to help instructors learn how to organize a class, using technology to enhance the experience. Google Earth, for example, could be used to teach geography to students, Lucas said.”Don’t use the computers to teach Word Perfect…use them as a tool, like a pencil, to help the educational process,” Lucas said. He cited an example of having students build an airplane using a computer program, which, in turn, draws on their math skills.
“They learn math because they have to, if they want to build the plane,” Lucas said. “At some point, every kid will turn to their parent or teacher and ask them, ‘Why do I have to learn this? Why is it relevant to me?'”
Read the full article here:
George Lucas turns computers into pencils
Find out more about Edutopia here.
Before the days of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, which champions the use of fun as a means to engage students in learning, there were publishing companies which sought to use kid-friendly properties like Star Wars to interest young people in skills such as reading and writing. Pendulum Press started things off in 1978 with the release of an obscure educational kit that’s been all but forgotten by old-school Star Wars fans, and likely totally unknown to the digital-savvy students of today’s classrooms.
The multi-media kit, which featured 80 slides cued to a taped soundtrack of dialog, sound effects, and music, included a read-along comic book for students and a series of purple mimeograph masters from which teachers could produce several worksheets.
Check out how Lucas has used Star Wars to teach young fans in the classroom: Old-School Star Wars