Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

A New Way Of Learning – Video Games In School

New York Launches Public School Curriculum Based on Playing Games

The first American school with a curriculum built around gaming principles, Quest to Learn (aka “Q2L”) may be at the forefront of a learning revolution—and some think the timing is right. New York City education officials hope that the new school can represent the tip of a “transformative” revolution, according to Metropolis.

Games have long played a role in classrooms, but next month marks the launch of the first U.S. public school curriculum based entirely on game-inspired learning. Select sixth graders can look forward to playing video games such as “Little Big Planet” and “Civilization,” as well as non-digital games ranging from role-playing scenarios to board games and card games.

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 “domains” like Codeworlds (a combination of math and English) and the Way Things Work (math and science). Each domain concludes with a two-week test that is called—borrowing from video parlance—a “Boss Level.”

Now folks, when I first read about this (it was brought to my attention by an alert reader) I have to say I had an immediate knee-jerk negative reaction. For one thing, I was jealous — we did not receive grades for playing games when I was in the 6th Grade. (Unless you count dodgeball in P.E.)

And for another thing, I thought about all the hand-wringing and media-generated fear over “video game addiction“, as well as a certain campaign that’s been telling us violent video games are turning our kids into killers. And I laughed at the irony.
(We humans are so full of contradictions, no?)

But as I thought more about it, I could start to see the possibilities of using our new technologies in a way that engages our kids and encourages learning. I have never been a 6th Grade teacher in New York City and I readily admit I have absolutely zero clue (none, zip, nada) as to the challenges they face.

I have absolutely no idea if this “teach-by-play” idea could be just what the doctor ordered, or turn out to be some “dumbing down” farce. At this point it’s an untried experiment. I am reluctant anytime we use kids in experiments – naturally – but on the other side of that coin, I am disgusted by our apparent modern trend of graduating kids who can’t read, or think critically, and who lack basic skills like making change.

Something has to be done, it seems to me: could this be it?

For more on Q2L, click on the “Metropolis” link.
And, here’s Popular Science’s write up: New York Launches Public School Curriculum Based on Playing Games

Related: College Courses on Twitter, ’Guitar Hero’ — Dumb or Smart Trend?

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 17, 2009 - Posted by | Gaming, News, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. TechPaul,

    This is something we may want to follow-up on at a later date. It has definitely caught my attention. There definitely needs to be something done in our schools. It is nationwide. Your analogy on the west coast is the same as mine on the east coast.

    I do not hope this is another “dumbing down” farce. It does really scare me to see how people are truly being “dumbed down”. I can see in the future where our kids, and it is already happening, become so dependent on technology and electronics that if it were to suddenly go away it would be like zombie world… The kids necks are already craning from looking down at text messages and video games…

    Great article to make us think!



    Comment by Ramblinrick | September 17, 2009 | Reply

    • Rick,
      I hope I made it clear in my article that this program hasn’t even started yet… I almost didn’t write it as the topic is so far outside my realm of learning and experience. But I join you in hoping that it does produce tangible positive results.


      Comment by techpaul | September 17, 2009 | Reply

  2. My first reaction when I read this post was, “oh no, the kids are already too filled with video games, they don’t need them in the class room.”

    I read further, Quest To Learn, Metropolis, and the index of these titles, it is amaxing what is there, so challenging, so interesting. I think that way of learning is superior to the way I was taught, Logic, Problem Solving…
    (you should read it)

    The kids are already there with the technology, we can’t stop it now. Those who excel with this “new way of learning,” will stay with it, “in a world that we will not undestand,” perhaps they will improve our world with their new way of thinking- perhaps it is progress!

    “We are already there”, we might as well support it.
    My biggest concern is that we will not be able to talk with our children, let alone communicate with them.


    Comment by Gaia | September 20, 2009 | Reply

    • Gaia,
      Hmmm… I think part of the “problems” has been that kids aren’t taught logic, nor problem solving, but how to Google, and then cut>paste.
      And they get a gold star for just showing up.

      I am with you in hoping that education keeps up with the times, and can better prepare our children for the “global marketplace” that is modern day life.


      Comment by techpaul | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  3. Yes, I know the kids get a gold star for just showing up- that they are NOT taught logic or problem solving to a large degree.
    The class room vidos consists of that, it could improve their overall performance, keeping their interest, most kids are bored with the standard classroom stuff
    and how it is taught. They are into the technology anyway, why not advance it, hopefully in a better way of learning for them.


    Comment by Gaia | September 20, 2009 | Reply

    • Gaia,
      Okay. I guess I misread your comment. My apologies.


      Comment by techpaul | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  4. This site was simply great i like it because i like to listen songs playing games discuss about internet…
    also i like to know more about latest gadget and technology..


    Comment by r4 karte | September 24, 2009 | Reply

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