Gaming school

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.

Via KitchenTableMath.

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  1. Nels Nelson says:

    I would have loved to have gone to this school had it been around in my time. Games were what got me interested in programming, and most programmers will tell you they started out by trying to make basic games. Nowadays I make a good living designing video games, and I can honestly say that I enjoy going to work every day.

    Making games is not as creative (“fun and games”) as most people think. The core ideas are pretty easy to come up with. It’s the problem-solving, and coordinating the work of many dozens of people, that make up most of the work. There are jobs in the industry for programmers, traditional artists, 3D artists, animators, math-inclined designers, cognitive psychologists, creative writers, business majors, marketers, and more.

    I can see this school appealing to students who like to see a product from their work. Yes, it’s not something as physical as with shop class, but it’s a similar type of mind that isn’t happy with just a letter grade.

    Doesn’t New York City have magnet schools for the performing arts? I’ve absolutely nothing against them, but how many of those students really go on to make a living as actors, singers, or dancers?

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    My grandson would kill to get into that school.

  3. And Edison thought the movie projector would revolutionize education.

    And then it was the computer itself.

    Now it’s the games kids play on computers.

    They still sit in rows, at desks, and need pencil and paper. I’m no Luddite, but I don’t see much need for any hook greater than a good teacher and any technology more impressive than an overhead projector.