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Let the Games Begin

Amanda Esper Article Summary August 22, 2006 The article, Let the Games Begin, really hits home with how important it is to integrate technology into today’s classroom. The article is about a teacher that is in charge of an after school Western Civilization Program who uses a computer video game called, Sid Meier’s Civilization III, to get his students excited. He states, “it drives so much activity that you have to cut it off at the end.” Shreve goes on to say how video games and the commercial arcade appeared 35 years ago. You would go to the mall on a Friday night and the arcade would be packed with quarters dropping in the machines left and right. Now, those large computers have been made into home entertainment. Youth are still fascinated with video games today. So, why hasn’t anyone succeed in making a blockbuster hit for the classroom. Students are so excited to use computers only to find drill and kill software programs with only minimal improvements on test scores and long term progress. “Most educators approach new-game software purchases with skepticism and a reluctance to spend money.” Meanwhile, the $7 billion plus video game industry leads opens doors to kids wanting to kill aliens instead of doing their homework. Shreve is confident that teachers are working to transform this couch potato pastime into a curriculum staple just like the teacher who is turning a Western Civ. Program into the highlight of a kids day. Being in my mid twenties, I can say I am part of the video game generation. I spent many afternoons with a remote in my hand watching Mario and Luigi running across the T.V. screen only to get enough points to go the next level. Just what if all those afternoons were geared toward solving algorithms or proofs to get the next level? What if that was my homework each night? And somehow we had to prove to the teacher what level we got to. I can envision students’ faces lighting up as they ran into class so excited to tell their teacher. We would be living in a different world today. I work at a school where teachers in my grade level do not even know how to send an attachment. It amazes me how reluctant they are to try anything related to technology. The consequences are that students are going to be far ahead of their teachers. We cannot strictly use paper-pencil teaching anymore. The article mentioned how you can have the kids design their own games. After all, players know what they like. I was once venting to a friend how I cannot figure out how my third graders do not understand perimeter. My friend, a computer systems analyst, had the immediate response of using the computer to have kids draw shapes and fill in the perimeter. When you work with computers everyday, it becomes second nature. Though, when you are us


Not only this: " The consequences are that students are going to be far ahead of their teachers." - and that students more and more will feel a disconnect with school, more dropouts, etc.
At least you get it! - your students are fortunate.

[ report as inappropriate ] September 3, 2006, 12:00 am

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