funktionslust: (German) Pleasure taken in doing what one does best. Birds flying, dogs running, dolphins swimming, people sexing, etc. Urban DictionaryI've been working for the past week on a presentation related to education in virtual world (details coming soon). One of the catch-phrases I've been playing around with to describe the potential for virtual worlds as a learning environment is "Montessori on Steroids".
The key role of the educator in the Montessori paradigm is to provide a developmentally appropriate "prepared environment" for self-guided exploration. The idea is that humans have an innate drive to learn that manifests naturally when matched with the corresponding environmental cues and resources. Students are motivated by the intrinsic joy of learning, or funktionslust, rather than the current cultural fixation on external results such as tests scores.
Although Maria Montessori and those who have extended her work have done wonders to optimize physical world classrooms, virtual worlds can provide almost unlimited possibilities for the creation of prepared environments that educate through unapologetic funktionslust.