Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to School Week: The Learning Game Vol. 3

"You fail."
With the first week of school finally coming to an end, plenty of kids and teens have already experienced their first massive failures of the year and are dreading the rest of the drab experience that is American Education system. Everyone else is scraping by or overachieving as usual, but one thing is for certain: All but the most soulless of emo-brats can't wait to get home and conquer worlds on their Wiis, PS3s and Xbox 360s (if they haven't red-ringed yet, that is).

"Wouldn't it be awesome it we could play video games in school?" they ask each other. It's been a common schoolyard theme since even before the invaders from space blasted their way into arcades everywhere in the early '80s.

Little do they know, however, that it's already happening in select classrooms throughout the world. According to The Scholastic Stylus: Nintendo DS in the Classroom, a wonderfully written article by the super attractive and talented Matt, "learning games" like language and math tutors have already been put into use by schools in Ireland and Japan. There's also great potential in implementing Nintendo's hit handheld in special education classrooms worldwide. So while this generation my never get to take up the stylus themselves and knock out a few equations, maybe it'll be common place for their offspring.

What might be a little more feasible for the classrooms of today is good ol' fiction - interactive fiction, that is. Despite its name, the article Interactive Fiction: The Missing Link has nothing to do with the protagonist of the Zelda series and everything to do with old school text-based adventures like the Zork series. Popular back when computers were lucky to have more than 1 kilobyte of RAM and still prevalent to some extent today, interactive fiction games are all about reading and problem solving, but in a way that puts the player in total control of the outcome; sort of like an electronic Choose Your Own Adventure book. Games like this could be a great way to get reluctant students reading and enjoying it, and prolific readers soaking in even more wordage than before. Besides, I'd take Zork over atrocities like Jane Eyre any day.

Now if you're finished with all this educational stuff, why not take a break and read today's Extra Credit Bonus Link, Another Roadside Tragedy. It's the sad story of a small child, a Happy Meal box, and one extremely ticked off motorist.

Yes, it's who you think it is.
Enjoy the weekend, students, because Monday always comes so awfully fast.

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