For many people, video games in the classroom doesn’t seem like the greatest idea. However, some developers think that educational games may be the future of education. Of course some people also used to think the earth was flat too.
In a new article in Forbes, Nolan Bushnell (who founded Atari and Chuck E. Cheese) sounds like a positive evangelist when discussing what he called games based on brain science. His new company, Brainrush is in the business of producing just such games, so it makes sense that he’s psyched about the possibilities. Another developer Jesse Schell, founder and CEO of Schell Games, is equally enthused and thinks the revolution has already begun.
While both men discuss the positive aspects of how this sort of software can help in the classroom, there is a disturbing undertone that suggests a strong profit motive and a future classroom dominated by machines, not a teacher. There’s no doubt that technology, when properly applied, can be a good teaching tool, but since the first computer entered a classroom a couple decades ago, things really haven’t improved or changed that much despite the expenditure of billions of dollars.
Technology is now part of education, but I think we all need to avoid drinking the Kool-aid these guys are pushing. At a time when everyone is looking for better results from the current system, replacing tried and true methods with the next shiny toy only helps the guys selling the toys. We need to approach technology carefully and continue to support teachers and schools, not software companies.
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Image courtesy of www.ed.gov.