[Edu-sig] Education Arcade

John Miller jmillr at umich.edu
Sat Dec 13 12:30:42 EST 2003

On Thursday, December 11, 2003, at 12:03 PM, Arthur  
<ajsiegel at optonline.net> wrote:

> One thing I got from a quick look at the presentation was quite  
> positive.
> Clearly distinguishing between entertainment and educational software.
> Probably the biggest reason I react negatively to the general subject  
> of
> software for kids is that there seems to be a reluctance to make clear
> distinctions here.  Particularly in the case of non-commercial  
> software.
> Somehow if its directed at kids, and comes out of the opensource  
> community,
> its educational  - in some overly vague way.  Obviously there is  
> nothing
> wrong with opensource efforts to entertain kids. But there seems to be  
> a
> habit of misclassification, or certainly vagueness, here.

The following came from NewsScan Daily, 11 December 2003. (I happened  
to read it immediately after reading Arthur's message above.) Instead  
of thinking of this as an unfortunate blurring of boundaries, these  
researchers appear to be identifying this as a means of engaging  
students' attention. (If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!) Perhaps we can  
think of it as simply a new or different genre. I think the real value  
of this sort of effort (below) lies in the direction of *students*  
developing such software for their peers (perhaps their younger peers).  
Hence the value of PyGame; hence the value of Soya 3D (and others like  

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has launched the Education  
initiative, aimed at exploiting the educational benefits of videogames.  
project plans to harness the talents of scholars, international game
designers, publishers, educators and policy makers to develop videogames
that would be fully incorporated into existing curricula. "We want to  
the change in the way the world learns through computer and video  
says MIT professor Henry Jenkins. "Our mission is to demonstrate the
social, cultural and educational potential of games by initiating game
development projects. We will also be informing public conversations
about the broader and sometimes unexpected uses of this emerging art  
in education." (Herald Sun 10 Dec 2003)


John Miller

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