Thursday, September 30, 2004

And you thought they only rotted your brain...

Who knew that all those hours I spent playing The Legend of Zelda were actually beneficial?

Last night, after reading the above article in our Language and Literacy class, our professor led us in a lively discussion comparing and contrasting video games and schools. It was one of the best group discussions we've had this semester. If only all my Wednesday night classes could be that interesting!

Though I'm not completely sold on the author's stance (he certainly evaded the whole "violence" issue, didn't he?), I think he makes some great points about encouraging interactive learning, where information is given "when you need it," in context, as opposed to dumping large amounts of useless facts on students without any narrative framework. One of the keys to the value of games seems to be the inclusion stories that are "bottom up" -- especially in the RPG's -- where, in a sense, the player is creating the story as they go. He also made good point about how video games challenge "the outer edge of players' growing competency," unlike many of America's schools (public or private).

I think our education system could also learn from the competitive gaming market: if a school isn't engaging kids, stretching their minds, encouraging creativity and independent thinking, then it shouldn't be allowed to operate. Privatize the schools and see what happens. (But that, of course, is another topic for another day.)

The best part of the whole evening was that the teacher gave us only one homework assignment: play a video game!

Imagine! Some people actually complained! I guess that's what one should expect, though, in a class composed mostly of girls. As for me, I definitely don't think I'll have to worry about procrastinating on this assignment! In fact, I should get started on that now...

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