A new 6th-12th-grade school in New York City “will use game design and game-inspired methods to teach critical 21st-century skills and literacies.” The proposed “Fun and Games School,” as New York Sun columnist Andrew Wolf calls it, is sponsored by the Gamelab Institute of Play, a nonprofit “that leverages games and play as transformative contexts for learning and creativity.”
” . . . the school will explore new ways of thinking, acting, and speaking through playing and making games in a social world. Students call themselves writers, designers, readers, performers, teachers, and students. The Institute calls them gamers.”
I call them “guinea pigs” in yet another crazy experiment to see how we can avoid actually teaching children real academic content. But these are not guinea pigs. They are real children, who have just one shot at getting a quality education. Who will pick up the pieces when that chance is lost in this sea of jargon?
Wolf doubts students will “build the technical, technological, artistic, cognitive, social, and linguistic skills they need to graduate from high school prepared for college and the world of work.”
The world of work is located in the real, not the fantasy world, a place that the “gamers” may have a hard time transitioning to.
I can envision students learning some skills through gaming, but not the whole enchilada.
The school has received a $1.1 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation, which thinks “video games and the dynamic systems they use will be key to information management in the future” reports NPR.