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Think of the children: Marlene Perrotte are taking up the good fight against video games where Jack Thompson left off. She and other parents in Albuquerque are fighting an educational math videogame which they claim is making children victims of "addiction" and exposing them to "violent" content like jetpacks.  (Source: KOAT-TV)
"What they recall is not the prime number ... but rather getting through to the enemy" -- concerned parent

Video games have their perpetual enemies -- poor adaptation, perverts, and slipping release deadlines.  However, perhaps the most insidious foe of video games is the perennial cry to ban games because they are too "violent", too "addictive", or feature too many "adult themes."

Albuquerque, New Mexico fell victim to this familiar foe when it tried to educate children using a mathematics-themed video game.  The local schools received a Department of Defense grant to deploy Tabula Digital's DimensionM to local schools, to help bump up children's math test scores.

Tabula Digital describes the game as having "all the action and adventure of commercial-quality video games while practicing and reinforcing the skills they need to succeed in math."  One middle school teacher called it "a 21st century flash card... They can use jetpacks and at the same time they have to know what the associative property is."

Not all local parents are as impressed, though.  Some are leading a crusade to see the game banned.  KOAT-TV, a local TV station, has been covering the bizarre protests.  One parent, Marlene Perrotte, comments, "We are feeding the addiction of these children to video games.  They were all excited, and they were excited because of the violence -'I'm getting ahead, I'm getting ahead, I'm getting ahead.'"

In a furor that would make even Jack Thompson proud, she raves, "What they recall is not the prime number ... but rather getting through to the enemy!"

Thus far, Albuquerque schools have no plans to drop the educational title amid the apparent outrage of a handful of parents.  DimensionM will continue to keep kids addicted -- to learning mathematics.  And that might just be a pretty great thing, considering math competency worldwide has been slipping.

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RE: Dennis30 pwns
By IcePickFreak on 6/8/2010 6:17:11 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, at least at the general point being made. Schools need to implement more real world lessons when teaching the fundamental skills.

I absolutely HATED arithmetic and math all through school, and did horribly at it. That was, up until I found something that sparked my interest. Around 14 is when I really starting getting curious on the mechanics on how things work or are built. That started with cars (which still continues), but it gave me a more practical approach as to why math works the way it works. Prior to that, I didn't care why x = y^2 just because "That's the way it is". All of a sudden math became a huge interest to me and subsequently one of my strengths rather than a weakness. Fast forward to today and I work in mechanical engineering.

Likewise, once I started gaining understanding on how various things work on a more technical level, that led to studying history to see how "one thing led to another", and gain interest in science as it goes hand in hand with engineering in the bigger picture.

Now maybe this game isn't the best example, but video "games" can be made to better make the connection of the fundamentals with the bigger picture. I think even at a young age, if presented, kids will find what genuinely interests them and learning the basics comes much more naturally. Schools usually tend to go with "things are this way because I said" or "do this because I said" and then wonder why nobody is eager to do it. Whereas if the students are expanding on an interest, all of a sudden the basics become an interest, and on and on. A game could be made for just about anything to draw on these interests to teach the basics and make the connections. Heck, I can honestly say in all my years of video gaming on just regular games, I've actually learned quite a bit of real world knowledge, if simply by piquing my interest to research something. Of course, the majority of that was before the huge rush of war games & shooters. Then again, I spent a lot of time blowing stuff up in flight sims, and those can teach you a huge amount if you want to be proficient at the "game".

I think learning in a more practical way like that would also reduce the amount of kids just out of school who are "lost". They would know what interests and excites them which would guide them more towards careers that suit them and that they are productive in because of their interest.

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