kitchen table math, the sequel: it's always worse than you think, part 4

Monday, July 9, 2007

it's always worse than you think, part 4

from today's Sun: ($)
The announcement of a new secondary school, to be opened in September 2009, a school "that will use game design and game-inspired methods to teach critical 21st-century skills and literacies," bears comment.

This new "Fun and Games School," as I have named it (it has no official name as of now), is sponsored by a non-profit group, the Gamelab Institute of Play, "that leverages games and play as transformative contexts for learning and creativity.”

How will this new school do this? "By bringing non-traditional audiences of all ages into the innovative space of game production and play … the school will explore new ways of thinking, acting, and speaking through playing and making games in a social world. Students call themselves writers, designers, readers, performers, teachers, and students. The Institute calls them gamers (their italics)."
I call them "guinea pigs" in yet another crazy experiment to see how we can avoid actually teaching children real academic content. But these are not guinea pigs. They are real children, who have just one shot at getting a quality education. Who will pick up the pieces when that chance is lost in this sea of jargon?

It should come as no surprise that one of the sponsors of this insanity is the group that I call the "permanent government" of New York City's education establishment, New Visions for Public Schools. They brought you the High School for Peace and Diversity, the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice, and the new Khalil Gibran School for Arab Culture and Language.

In little more than two years, as Joel Klein will be packing up his personal effects from his cubicle in the Tweed Courthouse, New Visions will still be in charge, just as they were when Chancellor Quinones was nominally running the show, as well as Chancellor Fernandez, Chancellor Cortines, Chancellor Crew, and Chancellor Levy.

Somehow, as Mayor Bloomberg was railing against the failed public school system, purged the superintendents and the principals, and closed and sold the building at 110 Livingston Street, he managed to pass over the individuals who had really set the direction of the school system for well over a decade before the mayor took control.

Joining in with New Visions is the John D. and Catharine T. MacArthur Foundation, which kicked in $1.1 million for "planning and development." They are the same institution that designates its grant recipients as "geniuses." Presumably they will do the same for the students in their latest school, where "students will design games and game-inspired materials, learn about the history and culture of games and play, build communities, and produce knowledge around the materials and relationships that result."

That is a quote from the press release announcing the school, which goes on to say: "Such an approach allows young people to explore the learning space of games and game driven pedagogy and gives them a platform on which to build the technical, technological, artistic, cognitive, social, and linguistic skills they need to graduate from high school prepared for college and the world of work.”

Wolf concludes with word that the AMA is considering classifying video game addiction as a form of mental illness. Having talked to Eric Hollander about "internet addiction," I'm sure video game addiction exists.

Possibly in this house, I fear.


We're in luck!

Heather Chaplin reports on the new idea of gaming literacy!


concernedCTparent said...

Oh please... nobody tell my son!

Catherine Johnson said...

same here

Barry Garelick said...

Calm down. EM, Investigations and the like are nothing BUT fun and games. It's been going on for years.

concernedCTparent said...

During parent orientation recently one of the teacher urged parents to please practice math facts for 5 minutes a day over summer because they were finding the incoming 5th graders were very weak in the area since using EM. When I followed up and asked what they were doing to address this problem during the school year and how were they supplementing EM, boy did I ruffle feathers. The principal of the upper elementary (5-6) told us that EM works as long as parents play the games with their children.

So appaently, fun and games are the answer.