games have their perpetual enemies -- poor adaptation, perverts,
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
quote: What we should be teaching in schools are critical thinking skills - reasoning, logic, problem-solving. That is what makes effective people.
quote: The problem is that it takes a lot of effort to teach that way, whereas it takes no effort to teach (and then test for) rote memorization.
quote: Couple that with the laughable salary that a teacher makes
quote: and massive class sizes
quote: and general underfunding due to budget cuts
quote: I honestly don't follow your first point...not sure why you're bringing up Mathematica.
quote: and any "bad apples" get sent to the remedial class
quote: On the third point, salaries: BS. Utter BS.
quote: And on the 4th point, class sizes
quote: Great inequity across the board, meaning that, probably, if you come from an affluent family and live in an affluent area you have a decent chance of having a sufficiently-funded school.