Today featured the final chapter on 'Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology', and our group was designated as official discussion leaders. When we sat down to plan the exercise, we felt obligated to pull together many of the ideas from the past 2-1/2 months into a concise lesson about where we might be headed. I was personally struck by the statement that over 50% of high school students are bored during their classes, and I felt challenged to find out what interests them. Since over 70% of American households play computer/video games, could there be a correlation of how the interactive gaming industry knows HOW to grab their attention? Last week we sent out an e-mail advising everyone to bring a set of ear phones in order to provide maximum engagement with the presentation. Our activity surrounded three of the most popular online games: Civilization, Viva Pinada, and Jamestown. After everyone signed in, we were someone shocked to know how few had ever played an online game....even if it was something as simple as Facebook's Farmville. We split the class into thirds, and let them have at it with one of the three aforementioned websites. It was interesting watching the different students engage with the games and simulations. While the group assigned to Civilization wasn't able to get play the actual game, they were able to delve into the website for video presentation on how the game was played.
As Dr. Boyer noted in his summary, as educators it is important we become better aware of the games and on-line activities which our students are involved with. If we choose to ignore this, we will only suffer the same fate as previous generations of educators. The gaming industry continues to grow with an ever-increasing variety of interactive games and activities. Some of these could be viewed as important resources for educators, and this is no time to turn our heads in disbelief. In reflection of the day, I consider this discussion to have been most worthwhile.