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Friday, January 22, 2010

Video Games In School

There is a school in NY City that is basing it’s entire curriculum on video games. The premise is that today’s wired kids can be better engaged through a medium that is home to them. NYC has a 39% drop out rate. Quest to Learn is hoping that this approach may be able to up their student retention level. Oddly enough I saw socialization results that mirror what they are seeing when my sons had the first cyber café in the area. Quest to Learn has discovered that kids with attention disorders can be reached through video games. At one point my sons had a Mom come in and buy her son 100 hours of computer time. She stated that she had seen more socialization progress in her ADD child the 6 weeks that Cyber-Stop had been open than she had in three years of therapy. As a former teacher and counselor, I saw kids engaged in problem solving and pushing their social skill to new positive levels. Therefore I am inclined to think that the Quest to Learn may have a winner.

Education is still mired in tradition. Tenure is a good example. Tenure may not be bad due to the possibility of politically motivated retaliation from locally elected school boards. However merit raises, as much as they terrify school boards and teachers unions both, are long overdue. Years and years ago I used the game Monopoly to help convey the meaning of communism, socialism and capitalism. I would have students play as competing teams to see how each system worked. My “game playing” was not well received by my supervisors. Any time something new is introduced into education it has an uphill battle. I can only hope that the Quest To Learn experiment can survive the Luddites and succeed.

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