Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

New York's Video-Game-Based Public School

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the next-year-is-facebook-high dept.

Education 214

An anonymous reader writes "In Manhattan this fall, a batch of lucky sixth-graders will start at Quest To Learn, the first public school in the US with a curriculum built around playing games. They'll play Spore and Civilization, board games such as Settlers of Catan, and learn 3D modeling in Maya and Google Earth as well. Each semester concludes with a two-week 'Boss Level.'"

cancel ×

214 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Awesome (5, Interesting)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447233)

Let me be the first to say that this sounds awesome, and I have a very strong urge to attempt to try and enter the sixth grade again! I can't tell you how much I would have loved to have had the opportunity to be so fully engaged in grade school.

Basically 90% of my public school education consisted of insufferable lectures with a worksheet at the end, and maybe if you're lucky a paper to discuss. Not until I got to the very end of high school did I get to engage in anything that wasn't essentially passive rote learning. Even the dual-enrollment/AP stuff I took relied soley on often dry discussion though, and had nothing on the proposed pedagogical model put forward by Q2L.

I'm sure that my public school education is somewhat representative of the majority experience. I'm sure there is a lot of collective envy with stuff like this:

A core goal of our pedagogy is to help students learn to reason about their world. Systemic reasoning, or the ability to see the world in terms of the many interrelated systems that make it up--from biological to political to technological and social--supports students in meeting this goal.Enduring understandings include:

1. Understanding of feedback dynamics (i.e., reinforcing and balancing feedback loops): understanding that small level changes can affect macro-level processes.
2. Understanding of system dynamics: understanding that multiple (i.e. dynamic) relationships within a system.
3. Understanding hidden dimensions of a system: understanding that modifications to system elements can lead to changes that are not easily recognizable within a system.
4. Understanding of the quality of relationships within a system: understanding when a system is working or not working at optimal levels.
5. Homological understanding: understanding that similar system dynamics can exist in other systems that may appear to be entirely different.


I would kill to be able to go back in time and have an education under people pushing such an enlightened philosophy.

Re:Awesome (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447289)

Thank you for saying exactly what I said, with more filler. Hell, I was probably going to be lazy just post your first sentence word for word, but you just did that.

Re:Awesome (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447445)

I have a very strong urge to attempt to try and enter the sixth grade again!

So who are you - Gary Glitter or Phillip Garrido?

Re:Awesome (4, Insightful)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447519)

I agree it sounds awesome. But you realized that had you had this education in your youth, your above post would have probably been more like: "W00T! This is teh awesome! All those n00bs who talk smack about it are totally FAGS!!!!"

I kid of course, but your concise use of grammar, punctuation, etc indicates that your traditional education was not a total waste as you seem to paint it.

Re:Awesome (1)

xch13fx (1463819) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447641)

also that's probably what some kids will say to other kids in this class and some will not enjoy school still.

Re:Awesome (3, Informative)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448277)

Speaking from personal experience, my vocabulary and spelling skills come almost entirely from video games (MUDs) and books (and not the kind of books they assigned in school).

Re:Awesome (5, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448449)

"I kid of course, but your concise use of grammar, punctuation, etc indicates that your traditional education was not a total waste as you seem to paint it."

I disagree, traditional education basically sucks the life out of kids. When we are kids there are a lot of cool things we want to do but we don't know how to go about doing them. I would have loved to have learned to program by someone leading us through the construction of small simple games and telling us why the hard boring stuff (like math) is important, kids want to accomlish their dreams and once they realize it takes hard stuff they will 1) Discipline themselves to do it (because they want to accomplish that cool goal) or 2) They will find an area more to their liking.

There are those who have the persistance to work hard and there are those kids who don't, we do a disservice to the kids with big goals and dreams and not nurtering them.

What I wouldn't give for someone like John carmack to write a book about learning to write small 2D games, etc, with feedback from those who had to learn the hardway (i.e. have insight on how to teacn and structure a lesson in terms of capturing kids interest).

Kids want to learn stuff we just suck the joy out of learning because we don't give them cool things to work on that teach teh lesson that -- cool things require lots of hard boring stuff to accomplish but the end result is awesome.

Now if we can ramp up this boring stuff by taking cool complex stuff and giving them access to chunks of stuff they can handle (i.e. take animation of cool things that blowup like say a car in burnout, and allow them to tweak matehmatical values to see the results they get)

They can start seeing a direct feedback relationship between what they are learning and doing cool stuff.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448791)

I'm pretty sure I learned grammar from reading, not from school...

Re:Awesome (5, Interesting)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447817)

Really. I had an easy time at school and got excellent grades with very little effort, but that just made me lazy and unused to working hard on things I'm not particularly interested in. At the same time, I'm grateful for all knowledge the school system did manage to cram into my mind. Looking back, I only with it had made me work even harder: I'd have more knowledge, better skills, and I'd be used to working harder to boot.

In other words, I might have loved to go to video game school as a child, but as an adult I would hate to have gone to it.

Re:Awesome (1)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448065)

But how would you have learned all of that? Would you have been made to write essays about these subjects, create a poster with glue, scissors and hand-colored diagrams (alternatively use Powerpoint), write a biography of the researchers, go on school outings to museums and mathematical institutions, or given class assignments to complete real-world experiments or write programs to demonstrate each of these concepts?

Each of these is a valid method of teaching, though to a geek the latter three would probably seem the most interesting, the first sounds the most tedious and the second might be fun for a day.

Re:Awesome (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448205)

Let me be the first to say that this sounds awesome, and I hav

Yo explosivejared, I'm really happy for you, I'll let you finish but Anonymous Coward had one of the best first posts of all time. OF ALL TIME.

Re:Awesome (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448279)

Games - by definition - first have to succeed as games.

You want to see compelling game play and the emergence of relatively simple - clearly defined strategies - the path to victory.

Real life holds surprises.

Expanding trade opens the door to lethal pandemics like the Black Plague.

Building the monument - the Pyramid, The Cathedral of Notre Dame, The Golden Gate Bridge, The Great Wall of China - is fun. But do you really understand its significance? Your time might be better spent watching a rerun of Mulan.

3d Modeling in Google Earth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447259)

Say what?

Re:3d Modeling in Google Earth? (1)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448025)

SketchUp, perhaps?

Oh Man (1)

TheBilgeRat (1629569) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447285)

Sure beats sitting around and programming in Apple Basic on an Apple 2...

Re:Oh Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447991)

Will never be as cool as programming the S-100 CP/M System !

Spore for education (1)

Loomismeister (1589505) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447299)

I actually feel like spore would be a great intro for kids to get them understanding basic evolutionary principles. Playing that game for 30 minutes would be a good experience for any person.

Re:Spore for education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447333)

I actually feel like spore would be a great intro for kids to get them understanding basic evolutionary principles

I advise you to don your fire-proof trousers.

Re:Spore for education (5, Insightful)

am 2k (217885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447499)

Uh, you do realize that Spore is as creationist as you can get? It's intelligent design (well, mostly semi-intelligent), because you're doing the designing yourself.

Re:Spore for education (2, Insightful)

Loomismeister (1589505) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447591)

Creationism doesn't compare to evolution in the analogy your making. Evolution is a process that is proven to happen in many different situations, and Spore reveals many of the basic parts of it. I didn't say that this game would attempt to explain the origin of life by teaching kids that they are somehow Gods that are actually creating life. Spore actually presents the creationist viewpoint in a silly and satirical fassion. It's also a fun game that opens up these topics for discussion in classrooms.

Re:Spore for education (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447653)

Spore actually presents the creationist viewpoint in a silly and satirical fassion

Hm. I fail to see why that should be in schools, then.

Re:Spore for education (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448351)

Creationism doesn't compare to evolution in the analogy your making. Evolution is a process that is proven to happen in many different situations, and Spore reveals many of the basic parts of it.

Yes, generalized Darwinian evolution is a process that, in addition to its source in biology, has been shown to have some utility in explaining other processes, and which occurs pretty much by definition where certain sets of features are present (a source of random variations which affect fitness, a system which largely but not entirely preserves traits, etc.)

OTOH, the basic required features are completely absent from Spore. As I understand, prerelease versions of the game had at least a kind of trait preservation (lacking the essentially unrestricted changes of the released version of the game), though they still lacked random variation.

Re:Spore for education (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447623)

Does it say that God created the earth 5000 years ago and created us? Does it show that there is no such thing as evolution? No? Then it isn't creationist.

Just because it allows you to design different creatures doesn't mean it advocates an ideology. That's just way off the deep end retarded.

Re:Spore for education (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447735)

"Just because it allows you to design different creatures doesn't mean it advocates an ideology. That's just way off the deep end retarded."

Is this the first self-inflicted whoosh on Slashdot?

Re:Spore for education (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447865)

In spite of your UID ... You must be new here.

Sorry. Had to do it.

Re:Spore for education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448923)

"Just because it allows you to design different creatures doesn't mean it advocates an ideology. That's just way off the deep end retarded."

Is this the first self-inflicted whoosh on Slashdot?

No, because he's right. The creators of spore weren't trying to advocate creationism -- they were trying to make a fun game. Do you honestly believe that the creators of (say) first person shooters advocate murder?

Re:Spore for education (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447737)

Creationism isn't tied to Christianity, there are several religions that teach it. In Spore, you're taught that you created a species a few minutes/hours ago and that all improvements are due to Your Holy Hand applying them in the creature editor. That's very similar to the way it is taught in Christianity, just the variables are different (time, number of species, etc.). I agree though that it's a rather satirical implementation, the question is just whether this can actually add something to biology classes.

Re:Spore for education (1, Troll)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448647)

Creationism isn't tied to Christianity, there are several religions that teach it.

Sorry, no. Creationism is a term that was created recently to describe a political movement by religious people to clothe their Christianity as alternative scientific belief for the explicit purpose of getting it taught under diversity principles in schools. The word does not mean "all forms of religious belief which involve a divine origin viewpoint."

Just because you assume a word to mean something does not make it so. Please don't correct people based on guesses you made from context. Language isn't a "no you're wrong" guessing game.

Creationism isn't just explicitly Christian, it's also explicitly American.

Re:Spore for education (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448469)

Does it say that God created the earth 5000 years ago and created us? Does it show that there is no such thing as evolution? No? Then it isn't creationist.

Very few creationists claim that God created the Earth 5000 years ago (Young Earth Creationists favor a date just over 6,000 years ago, and plenty of creationists don't specifically espouse a young-earth view. Creationists also generally don't show, or even pretend to show, that there is no such thing as evolution, they just accept it on faith, though some attempt to masquerade as scientists and purport to show that there is no such thing as evolution.

So, given the standards you suggest for Spore, most Creationists would not be "creationist", either.

Re:Spore for education (1)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448599)

Does it show that there is no such thing as evolution? No? Then it isn't creationist.

By this logic, creationism also isn't creationist.

(Preparing for trolling by people who don't get it and assume I must be defending creationism.)

Re:Spore for education (1)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447501)

"So what did the narwhal eat to get its tusk?"

Re:Spore for education (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448997)

Unicorns, duh.

Re:Spore for education (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447629)

I hope driving games aren't a great intro to get them to understand basic driving principles...

I'm one of those incredibly stupid, ignorant, Bible believing Christians, but I don't even think anything considered "scientific" should really have it's basic intro as a game... it seems like it'd be far to ambiguous, too subjective, etc.

There's a vast difference between a science class and a "general idea" view of something. The "general idea view" of something isn't something I feel like my tax dollars should be paying to teach, let alone paying to have a kid play a game.

I'm fairly certain, even in my ignorance and stupidity :) ... I could give the general idea and basic evolutionary principles to a kid in less than several weeks. If you're only playing the game for 30 minutes, then I fail to see how it's "video game based." Actually, I fail to see, really, the point at all. It's not scientific (since when is a computer game part of the scientific method?) and it's not necessarily accurate (do all evolutionists agree that spore is How It Happened?). Even a video or something would be better.

Are games bad? No. Do they teach things? Yes. Do I think they belong in schools as a substitute for more ... traditional ways of teaching? No. Do I think the current public school system is good? Far from it. Actually, I'm one of those "public school kids are awful" people. I don't think this new video-game-based idea will be much better.

Students may also play the evolution-inspired video game "Spore," but they get equally serious time with digital tools ranging from Maya 3D modeling to Adobe Flash.

In a public school? 3D modeling in 6th grade? Is that an elective (electives in 6th grade?), or what? I really fail to see how educational games and teaching 3D modeling is going to help the problem of kids not getting a good education in rather basic things like language and grammar.... and why inoculate them with Flash and Maya, since I'm on slashdot... why not, oh I don't know, Blender?

Re:Spore for education (1)

achenaar (934663) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448261)

"I'm one of those incredibly stupid, ignorant, Bible believing Christians" ... "I'm one of those "public school kids are awful" people."
Are these related? Serious question.
In a public school? 3D modeling in 6th grade? Is that an elective (electives in 6th grade?), or what? I really fail to see how educational games and teaching 3D modeling is going to help the problem of kids not getting a good education in rather basic things like language and grammar....
If I could've had a decent grounding in 3D modelling when I was a kid, instead of pissing about on Imagine on my Amiga (not that Imagine was a bad package or Amiga a bad platform, just that I'd have liked some classes in what I was actually doing), I'd probably have a more interesting job than I do right now.
and why inoculate them with Flash and Maya, since I'm on slashdot... why not, oh I don't know, Blender?
Because if they tried to teach them Blender, they'd end up learning a set of keyboard shortcuts that don't get used in any other package. It's great when you know all the shortcuts in Blender, but it's better when you know all the theory in *any 3D modelling program*, and preferably one that has buttons to ease the learning process.

Re:Spore for education (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448427)

Are these related? Serious question.

Possibly. I was homeschooled, but primarily for education reasons, not religious reasons.

If I could've had a decent grounding in 3D modelling when I was a kid, instead of pissing about on Imagine on my Amiga (not that Imagine was a bad package or Amiga a bad platform, just that I'd have liked some classes in what I was actually doing), I'd probably have a more interesting job than I do right now.

Hmmm. But does that mean it belongs in a 6th grade course? 6th grade seems like people are still going to be learning core subjects, aren't they? 3D modeling seems like a big jump. Sure, maybe as an after school or extracurricular thing, but that wasn't mentioned... and it seems like public funding should get the core subjects down before spending more on a Maya class. I'm not anti-3D modeling, either. I don't do it, personally, but my brother does and enjoys it a lot.

Because if they tried to teach them Blender, they'd end up learning a set of keyboard shortcuts that don't get used in any other package. It's great when you know all the shortcuts in Blender, but it's better when you know all the theory in *any 3D modelling program*, and preferably one that has buttons to ease the learning process.

I agree, it's far better to know the theory than any specific program... so I'm not sure why this hands-on video-game solution isn't going to be too good of an idea.

I'd think a physics course in 6th grade would be more appropriate than a 3D modeling class.

Re:Spore for education (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447663)

You do realize that Spore was shallow, shitty, boring, and a huge disappointment in general, right?

Add on to it the shitty DRM and the shitty endless expansion packs, part packs, stand alone creature editors, and terrible censorship, and I'm just gonna have to say it. FUCK SPORE.

Will Wright had one good game. SimCity.
It's time to face it - everything else has been shit.

Just like Molyneux (Populous good, the rest were over-hyped shit).

At least Meier has two good games to his name (Civ and Pirates) and isn't hyping the sequels to hell and back.

In short, Spore sucks, especially for teaching kids about evolution, and Will Wright sucks until he puts out another good game.

Re:Spore for education (1)

Loomismeister (1589505) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448059)

I think you are stamping your opinion on something that isn't necessarily true with all people. I know a ton of people who never play "video games" but they loved sitting down and playing spore for a while. It's so simple and easy and cute that it appeals to a different audience perhaps than you. I didn't have any problems with the spore DRM. Molyneux made big hits with Fable that many people love. I didn't like either of those Meier games.

Re:Spore for education (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448429)

Spore was hyped as the greatest game ever.
It was mediocre at best.

Fable? Eughhhh....

Re:Spore for education (1)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448111)

The original Theme Park was great.

Re:Spore for education (1)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448157)

Sorry for double posting.

I also loved Dungeon Keeper.

The more recent games by Molyneux, however, aren't so hot ;)

And you're kinda right about Will Wright.

Re:Spore for education (1)

achenaar (934663) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448287)

You're right to be disappointed by Spore, hell knows I was. Serious overuse of "shit" though considering you didn't even say the sequels were SimShitty.

Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447353)

That's actually a good idea. In the elementary school I went to (in the early 90s) there was a gifted program, and part of it was in fact playing computer games. I actually learned a ton from playing Civilization there.

Re:Experience (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447613)

Elementary schools in the 70s used a different term than "gifted program"; but they did get to play lots of games too. They had "put the fries in the little box", and "sort the little metal disks". I'm sure that civilisation and quake are an improvement, but I can't imagine the sort of carnage we'll see in junk-food restaurants in 10 years...

Re:Experience (5, Interesting)

mckinnsb (984522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448037)

In the mid-90's I was in a program called Talented and Gifted - simply called "TAG" for short. Essentially, all the 'smart' kids (recommended by teachers, guidance counselors, and 'anomalous' test scores) were put into a room in middle school for one period (45 minutes) a day. Essentially, all we did was play games. There were occasions where we learned about other cultures and exchanged letters with students in Russia, but for the most part it was a period in middle school devoted specifically to games of all sorts.

However, the games were quite serious, at least as far as games go. I remember one in particular, where our whole class was informed we had 'woken up' in a bomb shelter, supposedly after a nuclear attack. We were given no general background of the setting of our dilemma, only the vague recollection that something *bad* had happened. None of us could quite remember exactly what happened, or how in particular we got there. We remembered our personal histories, but the information was on cards that were given to us by our TAG teacher, and we were not allowed to show them to other students - we had to 'express' what was on the card in interim periods between decisions. A little like a character sheet, if you ask me.

We were then given one direction by the "MC" of the game, the AI programmed into the bomb shelter - choose a leader. The whole game then revolved around a process of negotiation amongst the survivors with said leader , as said leader decided whether or not to enter into different communications with different camps in this post-apocalyptic world, something which the AI explicitly advised against. The climax of the game involved one decision: will you open the door to your shelter past the airlock (i.e, not safe, if the world was irradiated you would die) and check outside? Both the AI and the other camps advise against this through nearly the entire game. However, I remember our team deciding to open the door. We did, and found that not a singular nuclear missile had gone off, and that everyone was in hiding. In the end, what the game 'taught' was that neither the AI nor the other camps could be trusted, and the best conclusions were the ones we came to ourselves.

Obviously, you can't teach Mathematics through a video game. You can, however, clarify some of the more obscure portions of Mathematics through demonstration, and video games are an excellent way to demonstrate.

I think the good people of the Manhattan Public School Department will quickly find, however, that games meant for general consumption (i.e., non-educational purposes) are not fit for the task. For instance, I would not pick EA's "Dante's Inferno" to quickly teach kids in my history class the impact Dante Allegheri had on how people viewed religion, or its relationship to politics. I might opt for something more along the lines of this [enterthestory.com] , which does gloss over some details, but hits the heart of the matter pretty neatly.

Re:Experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448887)

I remember playing a very similar game in my TAG class. It was one of the most awesome experiences of my education.

Misguided at best (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447363)

I like playing games more than most, but this is another poor attempt to make learning "fun". I see this problem at all levels of public education and it is fundamentally flawed. Instead of pandering to the attitude that learning isn't fun, more effort should be made to instill a different attitude towards learning. "Tricking" students into thinking they aren't being taught is never going to inspire the next great scientist or artist. Achievement requires hard work and we should not pretend otherwise and we should certainly not teach that notion to students.

Re:Misguided at best (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447537)

I think you are spot on. If anything students need to learn that learning is not fun, studying is not palatable and it all takes work. Then they need to learn how much fun it is to take some newly acquired knowledge and apply it to the creation or execution of something they could not do before. I say make the sixth graders sit through a lecture or two in physical science class on Bernoulli principle. Let them learn a few basic algebraic equations, and then they get to build a glider.

Re:Misguided at best (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448373)

If anything students need to learn that learning is not fun, studying is not palatable and it all takes work.

Why? Though it takes work, learning certainly can be fun.

Re:Misguided at best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447733)

I believe the theory is that we naturally learn through play. And isn't that what most science is? Playing around with stuff and seeing what happens. Maybe the type of games they're trying to use aren't the best, but I don't think it's fair to say the idea is fundamentally flawed.

So... (5, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447367)

What they will get is the Ancient Egyptians made nuclear weapons. Sheep can be traded for Bricks, The success of evolution is based on the intelligence of the designer, with the attempt to zoom into the beaches in Brazil. Well I guess that is as good as american Education gets. You not really raising the bar. But the kids get the same education and have fun at it.

Re:So... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447489)

Sheep really can be traded for bricks.

Re:So... (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447759)

Sheep really can be traded for bricks.

Until you find out that the other guy wanted to give you sheep and accept bricks, not vice versa, and that you handed him two sheep and he handed you two sheep and you're both left sitting there saying "What the fuck?" to each other. Then the guy who's got a city on a brick 6/wood 8 junction and has built the goddamn Great Wall of Catan out of roads so you can't GET to the bricks anymore starts laughing....

Re:So... (4, Funny)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447523)

...Sheep can be traded for Bricks...

Q: What did the one Scotsman say to the other Scotsman while they were playing Settlers of Catan?

A: I've got Wood for Sheep!

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week. Try the ve^H^Hlamb!

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448533)

I baaaaaaaahlieve you're confusing Scottland for New Zealand. ;)

Re:So... (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448669)

Q:What's the difference between a Scotsman and a Rolling Stone?

A:The Rolling Stone says "Hey you, get off of my cloud!" - the Scotsman says "Hey McCloud, get off of my sheep!"

Re:So... (2, Funny)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448681)

*crap, I screwed it up (yea yea) it's Ewe, not sheep

Re:So... (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447713)

I went to the bank with 2 sheep in tow and those fuckers would NOT give me any ore.

I even took a picture of me and my sheep at our sheep-trading port.

Baaaaabs and Aaaaadam were furious.

Re:So... (3, Funny)

nebaz (453974) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447769)

Ancient Egyptians didn't make nuclear weapons, silly. They made stargates.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447961)

I could get more than a few Bricks for a sheep :( maybe a few hundred in fact!

When Corporations Write the Curriculum (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447399)

This sounds like the type of "course" designed by lobby groups and their corporate masters not to actually educate children, or at least not as that term has been classically understood, but rather to indoctrinate the next generation of mindless consumers who don't ask questions and don't think too much. This is just one of many factors contributing to the continuing general decline of American public education. They might as well have them play America's Army or Modern Warfare, at least then we can begin their training early.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447421)

second life for starters?

Skills For Life (2, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447469)

If you want to be unemployed playing games in a basement.

What's wrong with maths, english and science these days?

Re:Skills For Life (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447927)

Well for starters I really don't see how Spore would teach anything. It is a sort of mindless game.
That being said Civilization is NOT a mindless game. There is no overt math, or whatnot. But there is a good bit of history in the Civilopedia. And to play the game at a somewhat difficult level requires massive amounts of 'rough' easy mental addition. In combat you have to calculate defensive bonuses. In laying out city 'carpet' you need spacial recognition, not to mention planning. Moving units properly requires decent pathing calculations (if you don't use goto, which messes up a lot anyway). Not to mention the good planning skills that such a long turn based strategy game can help devolp.
Now I could have played Civ all day long in 6th grade. But I think (my neighbors included) didn't get the drive. I think some people being forced to play Civ will be just as hard and painful as regular school.
Also Civ is a game. And you can straight up game it. There are ways to bypass all that and just mindlessly build units and take over (assuming low difficulty). Having goto and auto functions would also prevent a lot of the calculations needed. I personally think a Geogrophy/History class in 6th grade could use Civ as a base. Talking deeply into city management could provide prediction skills, and reenforce basic math skills. I don't think 6th graders are up to probability and stats but battles in Civ are all about these two subjects.

Basically at 6th grade some basic math, with writing, reading, and basic problem solving, using Civ as a base would probably work. I would probably want to tweak the game a bit. And honestly basic problem solving is probably more valuable to a 6th grader than most of the stuff I learned. Math and Reading probably would win out, but after that...

Re:Skills For Life (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448523)

And to play the game at a somewhat difficult level requires massive amounts of 'rough' easy mental addition.

Problem 1:
You have 5 cities producing one gunship [wikipedia.org] apiece each turn. Each turn has a duration of 1 year. The gunships can reach an enemy city in 3 turns from your cities. How many decades will it take to kill that spearman?

Re:Skills For Life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448907)

I would ask why you didn't provide us with the estimated time frame it would take to complete each gun ship in that word problem sentence.

Re:Skills For Life (1)

renrutal (872592) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447939)

Of course, knowing the reproductive system of some trees helped me a lot in my software development job...

FTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448491)

In one sample curriculum, students create a graphic novel based on the epic Babylonian poem "Gilgamesh," record their understanding of ancient Mesopotamian culture though geographer and anthropologist journals, and play the strategic board game "Settlers of Catan." Google Earth comes into play as a tool to explore the regions of ancient Mesopotamia.

...

Public money also means Q2L students must take the same math and reading tests as other New York students.

From links in TFA:
Metropolis magazine [metropolismag.com] :

Games offer rule-based systems that allow students to understand how the interaction of elements in one scenario might be applied to another, or to real-life situations. While exploring how Spartans dealt with rival city-states, for instance, students will learn how to make policy decisions and weigh the costs of war.

...

Each of the 20 to 25 children per class will have access to a laptop and, rather than studying individual subjects, will attend four 90-minute periods a day devoted to curriculum âoedomainsâ like Codeworlds (a combination of math and English) and the Way Things Work (math and science).

Q2L.org [instituteofplay.com] (PDF link):

Established Goals:
NYS Learning Standards for Math, Science, and Technology:

  • Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as
    appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.
  • Students will access, generate, process, and transfer information using appropriate technologies.
  • Students will understand mathematics and become mathematically confident by communicating
    and reasoning mathematically, by applying mathematics in real-world settings, and by solving
    problems through the integrated study of number systems, geometry, algebra, data analysis,
    probability, and trigonometry.
  • Students will apply the knowledge and thinking skills of mathematics, science, and technology to
    address real-life problems and make informed decisions.
  • Students will use visualization and spatial reasoning to analyze characteristics and properties of
    geometric shapes.
  • Students will develop strategies for estimating measurements.

The above standards are being applied to one of the classes in that sixth-grade curriculum. I would have killed someone to have been exposed to trig in sixth grade. It would have made a lot of things later on a whole lot easier.

Re:Skills For Life (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448643)

Well, based on this and Unschooling [wikipedia.org] , my guess is teaching them just isn't the "hip" thing to do these days.

In related news... (1, Informative)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447477)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has mandated that American medical schools must incorporate training using surgery simulation devices [wikipedia.org] for all aspiring surgeons.

what crap... (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447491)

This is the legacy of No Child Left Behind... We've dumbed education down to the lowest common denominator. There are fewer and fewer gifted programs. Everyone's straight-jacketed into the same curriculum at the same pace, and should someone demonstrate superior intelligence they're practically punished for it because it might harm some other precious snowflake's self-esteem to know! Net result -- kids don't try as hard, so standards slip and slip and slip, to adjust to the new low point. Video games -- Seriously. You know, it used to be a treat to get a movie in class and it was read, read, read. It was all about reading. Nowadays it's all about learning via glowing rectangles.

Sad.

Re:what crap... (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447709)

Interactive video games could be a very useful tool for education if done correctly.

I think you read a little too much Ayn Rand or something. No child left behind certainly sucks, but I don't see it advocating policies of punishing children for being too smart.

Re:what crap... (4, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447841)

I'm sorry but I fail to see how the topic mentioned in the article (yes I read it, no I am not new here) has to do with schools succumbing to the 'make everybody equal mindset.' Granted, the program is an attempt to educate kids through the use of video games. But just because video games are very popular amongst kids doesn't mean there is some connection between this program and trying to make every single kid equal. I would assert, however, that implementing a program like this. which gives kids more freedom in how to learn (different choices in video games, different approaches to problem solving, etc.). would probably help those kids with superior intelligence and problem solving skills shine more.

Forgive me if I am treading on your lawn but frankly, the school system as it stands now is a broken piece of shit (which you seem to agree with). Currently we stuff kids into a room, unload an unending string of partially garbled speech at them (through teachers that can hardly make sense of their own thoughts), and expect them to absorb it all like a sponge. Then we ask them to barf the crap they just heard back onto papers in an automaton fashion so that they can be rewarded with a pat on the head in the form of good grades. It's ridiculous, stifling, and completely fails to teach children how to learn (it succeeds very well in teaching them to accept what they are told though).

The program described in the article, while it may end up failing or may end up succeeding (I don't know which), is at least an attempt to break free of that massively screwed system. It puts the children in a technologically immersed learning environment (that alone should pay off in an ever-increasingly technologically linked world) and gives them the opportunity to approach education in a way that makes sense to them (with guidance from their teachers). This not only gives them a chance to try new things in a safe environment (last I checked kids don't get hurt from video games), but it also gives them a chance to approach problems and knowledge by a means that works for them. That freedom and that freedom alone makes this program worth observing and not just dismissing out of hand.

Furthermore, it appears that the games and programs kids will use to do their schoolwork vary from fun games to practical computer programs such as Adobe flash. As the article and summary both point out, these will give them a tech saviness that is lacking in kids these days. It gives them a chance to approach what are normally boring things for young kids (ancient Babylonian poetry) through a fun and creative medium (develop your own graphic novel) which could give them an intimate knowledge of something that most kids would just sleep through in normal school.

Don't get me wrong, I am as embittered as anyone that my own education was a patterned succession of memorizing crap right up until college, but that doesn't mean that I am going to slam any alternative education model that comes along just because I feel like it. Frankly, this idea is one worth pursuing if for no other reason to see if it works or not. If it doesn't, hopefully a better program will come along that will. Until then however, I have to say that I think this program deserves a little more inspection than, "What Crap."

Re:what crap... (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447853)

This is the legacy of No Child Left Behind... We've dumbed education down to the lowest common denominator. There are fewer and fewer gifted programs. Everyone's straight-jacketed into the same curriculum at the same pace

No, it's much worse than that. We always had essentially the same curriculum for everyone if your school couldn't afford "gifted" courses, and most schools couldn't for more than maybe a couple subjects -- e.g one elementary school I went to had "advanced" math, but not science, history, english or anything else, so if your "gift" involved something other than math, tough luck!

The problem with No Child Left Behind is that the curriculum now revolves entirely, 100%, around passing the stupid tests. Teachers don't teach anymore, they train and coach in how to pass tests. They don't teach things the test doesn't cover. They don't teach the principles, they teach the technique needed to pass the test. Because they can't afford to do anything else or they'll risk losing money and then whatever few interesting programs they have left will be gone.

It'd be one thing if it was an actual education based on the lowest common denominator. But it's not even that good. Ever cram for an exam where you didn't care at all about the subject, you only cared about passing the exam, because if you didn't pass the exam your GPA would drop and you'd lose your financial aid? Was that the best learning experience? Now imagine your professor had exactly the same motivation. That's what No Child Left Behind has done to our education.

Re:what crap... (2, Insightful)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448783)

To be fair, teaching to the test is an OK thing to do.... assuming the test is any good.

For more fairness, the various tests pretty much suck, so your point is valid (and I don't have a windmill in my beard)

Re:what crap... (1)

josteos (455905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447883)

I work all day in front of two glowing rectangles.

This videogame-based education sounds like an excellent way to prepare for real life!

I'm still waiting to level-up tho...

Re:what crap... (2, Informative)

proslack (797189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448871)

Not every career involves staring at a monitor day in and day out. Some of us also work in labs and in the field. IMO video games aren't going to prepare kids (6th grade, no less) for the myriad of career parths open to them.

Re:what crap... (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448091)

Ever watch a 6-year-old learn to read from a rabid desire to play Pokemon? There's more than one way to skin a cat.

Re:what crap... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448097)

I somehow think this is a problem that came before NCLB (2002). I'm pretty certain that NCLB was trying to fix the public schools, which implies that the problem went back significantly before NCLB.

Re:what crap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448383)

Video games -- Seriously. You know, it used to be a treat to get a movie in class and it was read, read, read. It was all about reading. Nowadays it's all about learning via glowing rectangles.

Sad.

I don't think the point is to give the students a "treat"; rather the school seems to feel that traditionally-employed methods of teaching are not very effective (shocking, considering all of the overachievers that the US public education system is currently churning out) and has come up with an idea they think is better, as well as the means to test it out.

Also, reading TFA, it doesn't seem like there is a huge emphasis on video games -- only one is mentioned, and one board game. What if they called it a "simulator" instead - would this be just as terrible an idea or would we be applauding their innovation? Aren't simulators used by the military, scientists, architects, and lots of other professions already? Are we going to stop funding our troops because all they do is sit around playing video games? Now THERE'S a dilemma for...I don't know, someone.

What I'm getting at is that if the glowing rectangles get the job done better than the non-glowing rectangles, I am all for them.

Sorry, I'll get off your lawn now.

Sex Ed (3, Insightful)

Manfre (631065) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447565)

Will sex ed get taught with porn?

Re:Sex Ed (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447691)

No, Custer's Revenge [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sex Ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447723)

No, they'll let your mom help in the classroom.

Re:Sex Ed (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447809)

Will sex ed get taught with porn?

What? Don't be stupid. No self-respecting video game based public school would dare resort to something as vile and debased as a porn movie!

It'll be taught with hentai Flash games off Newgrounds, of course!!

Re:Sex Ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448487)

Three words... Leisure Suit Larry.

Awesome! Err... Maybe not (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447659)

Of course the impulsive child in me is all thumbs and fingers and even a few toes up for this. However, in the long haul I have to question how far you'll get on this kind of content. There is a lot of games that can certainly teach things, but they only have so much to teach and then they're just a game. I suppose, at the very least, it will be an interesting experiment, just not so sure I'd want to be the parent of the kids participating in said experiment.

Wonderful (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447757)

Wonderful - a new generation of special snowflakes who will grow up expecting to be pandered to and for everything to be 'fun'. They'll have a rude awakening when they discover how fun mopping the floor at McTGIBurger at midnight is.

Re:Wonderful (2, Insightful)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448063)

You don't even have to look to McJobs. Most professional jobs also have some drudgery (which is part of why we're paid to do them).

However, it might be nice to see if this sort of learning could cause a cultural shift that might alleviate that drudgery. Hrm.

When i was in a self paced program i was almost a full year ahead of my peers. When i went back to the regular school system i was a D student. i wonder what i could have done in a system that accommodated me.

Re:Wonderful (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448109)

Don't worry. Robots will be taking those jobs long before they get there.

Spore? (4, Insightful)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447763)

My kids play Spore. It looks like an entertaining game with no relation to reality whatsoever. If they use it to teach evolution (or anything about biology, really), I would pull my kid out the next day. It's pure fantasy - nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't belong in a science class.

will the systems even have gpu / cpu power for thi (3, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447837)

will the systems even have gpu / cpu power for this or will they be trying to do this with low systems with POS intel gma video? amd + ati on board video is a little better but not real good for trying to do any real gameing and civ 4 is a real cpu + gpu hog.

GO AMERICA! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29447989)

Down the shitter, of course.

Then after school.... (4, Insightful)

Domini (103836) | more than 4 years ago | (#29447999)

...they can play "Try to find work in a struggling world economy competing against foreign jobseekers with real educations"

I'm not saying that all students will fall flat... the ones that are bright and feel that school is easy will not have a problem.
It's possible they will even excel.

It's the majority of lazy students that will suffer.

Catan warning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448015)

You might get expelled for saying "I've got wood for your sheep."

Spore? (5, Funny)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448057)

The only thing Spore can teach someone is terrible game design.

And this is why.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448075)

in my computer class in grade school all we did was plan LAN warcraft. the teacher literally didn't care.

Ultimate real reason for school revealed! (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448437)

And now we see what administrators (and parents) truly see the purpose of school to be:

Publicly funded daycare.

School Will Kill Video Games. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448627)

Uhm, gentlemen... Do you guys really think that this will somehow make homework fun?
"Your assignment due next Friday is to beat Xenogears [60+ hours easily], and write a 5 page report on the aspects of yadda yadda yadda."
If being forced to play the game doesn't kill the fun, the deadlines and summary reports certainly will.
Games are fun because they are an escape from reality. Turning them into work will kill them.

hard work, learning games, education (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29448851)

The point is that Education should be a mixed of theory/ideas/rules along with examples like games, demonstrations, other to reinforce the ideas being taught. But this seem like going to the extreme side of examples with little regard to other information that these games might be missing. It will be interesting to see how these kids turn out; I personally hope they reconsider the boss level and other aspects of how they want to run the year. After all, I had educational games when I was younger too but it was used to reinforce the information that was being taught and most of the time that I played Oregon Trail, I really did not care about what it was trying to teach me. I was interested in seeing how I did; did I make it or died. Even adding points to my grade did not change the way we played Oregon Trail, it was fun and a good laugh. I hope kids get more out of school then a good time or a good laugh.

Internet business advertising (0, Offtopic)

hclim65 (1560847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29448897)

Thank you for your blog,your blog have a lot of very important knowledge and information.After i read giving me a good experince of all the articles at your site.I will always visit your site in future and i hope i will have a special experince after reading all your important article in your site/blog.Thanks you very much.From business advertising is a effective way to grow your small business plan for consumer products ,industrial supplies & mlm business. hclim@all-business-advertising.com http://www.all-business-advertising.com/ [all-busine...tising.com]
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>