The first article, from Kotaku, discusses the abolition of our traditional school system and instating a system where children learn with video games. The main point of the article is that school isn’t fun, so the attention span of the students is greatly shortened and that video games are fun and can be used to teach as well. Back in the day, many kids were motivated because they didn’t want to get beat with a stick (that’s not to say there weren’t kids that liked school), but capital punishment has been eliminated so now teachers are forced to deal with ill-behaved and disruptive students. Anyways, on to the point of video games as a learning tool. The following is an excerpt from Gough’s article:
They’ll sit at home immersed in the internet (reading), texting (writing), and playing computer games (arithmetic, physics, geography, history). Learning is impossible if you are neither motivated nor focused; but it is unavoidable if you are both. Monitor the brain activity of a kid in a maths class-nothing going on. Now monitor it at home while he plays Bioshock at level 13: his brain is growing new neural pathways as though his life depended on it. Only the fear of either death or massive status loss can motivate a teenager to do anything, and computer games are optimised to do just that-even more effectively than a Victorian with a stick.
While I would agree that a video game player can learn a lot while doing these activities, I think some of the points are stretching a bit. Using the internet as a reading tool is only effective is the users are reading well-written articles. Not playing flash games, or reading some 10 year old’s myspace “blog” posts. Similarly, texting can only be considered a useful tool if the texts are being typed out properly – not using shorthand “c u @ mall l8r”. That accomplishes nothing, and is reminiscent of the story back in the 90s where kindergarteners were using their parents palm pilots (or they had their own) so much that they only knew the palm pilot alphabet (graffiti) and not the one common to the English language. Fortunately, they were young enough where it didn’t have much impact but I just think it’s ridiculous that it even occurred.
Not to downplay the significance of this article, as I’ve learned a LOT of useful knowledge from playing video games. Not least of which is the ability to navigate using compass terminology (thanks to FFXI) instead of “do i turn left or right?” “go east” “what?! is that left or right?”. Plus I’ve learned about history and religion, albeit slightly warped due to creative liberties of the games, from video games. And that’s one of the problem right now, kids playing games based on real events are thinking they are the real events, not BASED on the real events. If anything I think currently, video games are a good launching points to motivate or stimulate interest in certain subject materials. But if they are going to be effectively used as a teaching tool, specific games are going to need to be developed that portray accurate information about history and other such events. In terms of science and math, I think there are already, or rather were already, a great number of games that I loved playing that helped with that. Number Munchers, Dr. Brain games, and Reader Rabbit! Puzzle games like Professor Layton and Brain Age also help out with that.
All in all, I think it’d be a great supplement to include in school curriculum or as homework, but really teachers just need to connect with the students and figure out how to keep their attention or make things fun. I remember my physics AP teacher Mr. Morrison took us outside one class and we just threw boomerangs and Frisbees around all class while we explored physics. But then again physics and chemistry are slightly more hands-on like that. For biology, we went on a nature walk in the woods behind our school so that was cool too. It’s up to the teachers to think of creative ways to teach and maintain interest.
Onto the second article!
Really? really!? Is this what our society has come to? So many articles have commented on it. But the fact that the website CRASHED itself cause of the number of people wanting to view it is ridiculous to me. As most of the articles I posted say, it’s just 1 step short of phone sex. Dirty or flirty!? really? come on now. Are you really that desperate to play video games with a girl? This is just ridiculous to me. Sure it’s pretty awesome when girls play video games; having a gamer girlfriend, I can say it’s pretty awesome to be able to ask her, “wanna play some borderlands today?” I feel like even the most obsessive of WoW players will meet a girl or two in their journeys in Azeroth. Heaven knows I met a fair amount of them on FFXI. Granted, sometimes they are guys posing as girls, but that’s just the type of risk you take when you play an MMO. Take things with a grain of salt. But is it really that much of a turn-on to play video games with a girl? Much less one that’s getting paid to play with you, and that you don’t know, have never met, and will probably never meet. I just think it’s ridiculous to pay that much money in order to play with a female.
And what about the girls that play games for fun? Or just want to play with boys so that they can whoop them and thus emasculate them. Surely they would rage at such a site as well. Needless to say, I think this site is kind of pointless. Just find one of the girls you hang out with, and pester them to play video games with you. Problem solved. There are so many games out that I’m sure ONE of them will interest them. If you’re looking for a hardcore gamer girl, well luck of the draw. But I’m starting to meet more and more girls that play games. Just the other day I found out one of the girls in my MEMS class was playing Fallout 3. and I was like that’s awesome. True story.
Anyways bottom line, why would anyone pay 30+ dollars for this service? I realize I’m lucky to have someone that will play pretty much any non-horror/survival video game with me, but go to a comic-con, anime-con, or gaming expo if you want to find a girl like this. Pretty simple. Go to one, booze ’em and schmooze ’em.