1.       What concerns do you have about not just boys’, but all children’s fascination with gaming?  Is our use of technology in the classroom contributing to a larger problem?

2.       When the one teacher comments that “teachers need to stop resisting and use what’s working for kids,” does that remind you of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” or is that too simplistic?

3.       What computer activities do you use in the classroom which may capitalize on students’ fascination with gaming?

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Timely article (make sure to read the comments after it -- they show the poor opinion that some people have about our profession).

The one problem that I see with computer games at home is that there seems to be a lot of violence in the games that boys are playing. Several of the boys in my class want to write about these video games when we do Journal Writing, it seems that they spend more time playing video games than actually playing with real friends. I finally told one student, no more writing about video games." I, also, had a student last year who talked about the characters in the video games like they were people who really existed. I find that the boys in my class are not that interested in programs like BookFlix and Stories-Online because they are not interactive enough and things are not exploding and people are not being killed. I believe that educational video games and programs used in the right way can be challenging, interactive, and help students to be critical thinkers. Some of the programs listed in Lisa's supplemental article, certainly seemed to fit the bill.
Parents, though, do need to set time limits on how many hours a day their children are playing video games. It is very upsetting that many children are becoming obsessed with playing video games. As the book says the attention span of boys who game seems to grow shorter and weaker, they are not interested in receiving verbal instructions, they want more instant gratification, and that children who play violent games become more aggressive on the playground and in the classroom. Teachers need to do their research and made sure that the programs they are using are educational and interactive and enhance the learning experience.
It seems that video games have become like other media, such as movies and television, about which some parents fail to exercise any judgement. And once a young kid has seen an R-rated movie, G and PG movies are just too tame. Likewise, kids who are allowed to play age-inappropriate video games (or even just very expensive, complex ones) are not going to become engaged by the kinds of technology we want them to use in school. There is not a simple answer to this, of course, since we can't control what kids do when they're not at school. I know that I try to put the brakes on a kid when he's telling me about an inappropriate movie, and that's probably all we can do about boys and girls' fascination with certain video games.
I agree that once the child has been exposed to playing the "M" (mature/I believe over 17) games, they are not going to be interested in the types of programs that would be school appropriate. Many parents do not even take the time to watch the video games to determine if they are appropriate. I know that many of our 3rd and 4th graders play these games continually. I can recall one boy in Amy's class who can barely function in school because he stays up so late at night playing video games and then is constantly replaying them in is head while at school. Video games have pretty much replaced the use of television and ultimately have replaced the interactive playing that should be taking place outside. Not only are the kids suffering due to limited recess, they are suffering due to the fact that after school and on weekends they do not take the opportunity to go outside to play. I found the section "Video Addiction" to be very interesting. Imagine if we could only get kids addicted to reading!
I thought most of the information in this chapter was inconclusive. Small group experiments were conducted, isolated cases were presented, and there was a lot of opinion expressed, but little research-based results. Computers are here to stay and of course we are going to incorporate them into education because they are in business and most careers. We need to take what good we can and apply it to our students' education. If I let kids play Grammar Gorilla to reinforce their learning, and they like it, it seems like a win-win.
The section "Gaming for Knowledge" relays the maxim that you can't teach unless the kids are paying attention, which is similar to: people learn if they want to learn. There was more in this section that was credible to me. The U.S. Dept of Defense uses video games to teach how to use machinery and to practice battle strategies. Businesses are training new employees using videos, and medical schools teach surgery with them rather than cadavers. No getting around it.

Controlling the time in front of the games, and the "need" some children are experiencing are the crucial points that need to be addressed. This, and the inappropriateness of both games and movies is out of our hands. That would take us to the subject of needing a license, and better yet, a moral code before you are allowed to become a parent. We can only do so much. We have to face the realities, while establishing our rules for appropriateness at school

This high school is offering a course in video games design.



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