Monday, May 17, 2004

Education Arcade

Water Cooler Games has great coverage of the Education Arcade conference. Stephen pulled out some interesting quotes from Brenda Laurel, who like me, is skeptical about the education system ever embracing video games. Not that kids can't (and shouldn't be) learning from games -- it's just that their goals are totally different:
"School teaches basic skills. It used to do a pretty good job, but now we have a crisis. Starting i n the 20th century, school also provides socialization and, more importantly, also babysitting while parents go to work. School teaches test taking behavior. And school teaches about authority: teachers know more and have more power; students have no power. Students' ability to express agency is limited to 'petty transgressions' or 'achievements of excellence' within the structure provided by the school."
Amen. A quick search directed me to some of her excellent writing, particularly Making Better Media for Kids. A couple of quotes I liked:
"I asked Mark, if you wanted to design computer games that appealed to boys without a lot of violence, what characteristics would the games need to have? His answer was simply, 'empowerment.' We need to come up with some representation of personal agency other than violence."
"Our heroine, Rockett Movado, was unique in her ability to see the possibilities open to her and to make conscious choices about what to do next. Our products allowed girls to try this skill and to see how things might turn out differently depending on what moods, attitudes, or choices we bring into the next moment."

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