Reading, Writing and Video Gaming

Here’s a link to the article at AlterNet, by Marco Visscher.

From the abstract:

Teachers are learning that video games can actually improve our schools. As education adapts to please the gamer generation, will textbooks become obsolete?

Here’s the bit that should make you want to read more about the teacher and technique he presents:

An average of 75 percent of English children between the ages of 9 and 11 reach so-called “level four literacy levels” in reading and writing (including spelling, grammar, vocabulary, etc.). At Chew Magna, that percentage stood at 77 in 2000, rising to 93 four years later after Rylands began using computers to help teach writing. Boys in particular, who normally score lower in these areas, have made tremendous progress. One hundred percent reach level four, compared to 67 percent in 2000.

Nolan Bushnell wishes his children had a teacher like Tim Rylands. “The digital life in which kids live today is turned off at school. That leaves them with boredom and frustration. A man in front of a blackboard with a piece of chalk is just very boring.”

You go, Mr. Rylands!

Ever heard of Nolan Bushnell? Well, in 1972 he founded this company called Atari. 🙂 Check this bit out:

Bushnell also sees a solution for the educational system — the very idea Tim Rylands is already putting into practice: using video and computer games to inspire learning. He’s an expert in the field. Back in 1972, Nolan Bushnell founded Atari, the pioneering computer company. As the creator of classics like Pong — remember the Ping-Pong game between two discs on opposite sides of the screen? — Bushnell is generally recognized as “the father of the game industry.”

And because he is also the father of a 12-year-old son who can distinguish between 200 different Pokémon characters (“If they were plant and animal species, he would be able to pass sophomore biology”), Bushnell now spreads the word about how video games can help kids learn. Games, he asserts, teach you creative problem solving. They teach you to formulate hypotheses (“First I have to get the key from the magician so I can open the door”), to test these hypotheses (“Game over”) and revise them (“Oh, no, I have to drink my elixir to get to the magician!”). Games can even teach you the fundamental principles of scientific research.

Much more there – I highly recommend you click over and read.


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