Written by James Paul Gee and Elizabeth Hayes
It has been common for some time to see the formal learning in school compared unfavorably to informal learning out of school (Cross, 2006).
Humans seem to learn more deeply, and more equitably, without gaps between rich and poor, when they learn outside of school in areas they choose and for which they are motivated (Gee, 2003; 2004). Even three-year-olds can become experts on dinosaurs or trains, as Kevin Crowley has shown in his work on “islands of expertise” (Crowley & Jacobs, 2002).
Today, however, informal learning has become more and more complex, demanding, and sophisticated at a time when much learning in school has become skill-and-drill test preparation. Steve Johnson, in his popular book Everything Bad is Good for You (2006), has argued that modern media—television shows, anime, and video games, for example—are more complex and demanding these days than they have ever been before. Read more.