Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Worst Idea Ever

Oh my god. This is the worst idea ever. Ever! This charter school is based computer games - kids love them, and apparently they are the best pedagogical tool since dunce caps. My thoughts?

1. You are teaching kids something that, according to those who run the school, they are very adept at picking up by themselves. Isn't the point of school to teach kids things they wont be motivated to learn on their own?
2. This school seems to assume we should all be ok with the digitally induced attention deficit disorder this generation seems to suffer - why read a book, when you could watch a youtube video, why write an essay, when you could write a numbered list in a blog? Despite evidence to the contrary, I'm not so sure these changes are a good idea. Do we really want to breed a generation who thinks you can learn from making a computer game as much as from reading a book?
3. The rest of this country's education system, and the employers who take cues about workers' intelligence and discipline from it, still value traditional educational methods. Are these kids going to have to explain why their writing sample is a video game?
4. The idea doesn't seem to be that games help kids learn the things that normal schools fail to teach them, but rather that games teach kids a new set of skills that are increasingly useful. While it is hard to argue that there aren't new skills that are important, shouldn't they be taught along with, not instead of the old ones? Are we so sure that book literacy and old school styles of learning are irrelevant that it is ok not to teach them to children?
5. I am not sure I believe, or believe that it is a good thing, this but: isn't part of school there just to teach discipline by making kids suffer through boring things? It is what teaches kids to respect authority, follow directions, fear punishment, seek approval... and this doesn't work if the kids actually are excited about school. On second thought, this is horrible, I have decided that I certainly don't believe it - unless I was just to say that maybe it is ok if kids are not fascinated by every single thing they learn in school