[Edu-sig] re: Education Arcade

Kirby Urner urnerk at qwest.net
Sat Dec 13 14:08:21 EST 2003

> Kirby - for what its worth - I believe your friend at Design Science Toys
> does have some affiliation.  Which is consistent with the kind of hands on
> toys he markets.  Toys can be educational, sure.  Games can be
> educational, sure. Why isn't it fairly well common sense that toys 
> and games will be less meaningful and therefore effective when we turn 
> them from concrete to virtual.  What does virtuality bring to the table?

What's so "virtual" about a colorful, visual, responsive experience, which
engages your fingers and your mind, and plays sounds?  

It's not the computer game itself that's virtual, but the thing it
represents, such as a city, or the planet.  It presents a model.

A physical globe can do no better, and unless it's animated/interactive,
maybe doesn't do as well.

Board games are the closest things to simulations.  Monopoly for example.  

One might argue that computer games are isolating, as it's just the player
and the computer, so the social interactions are poor.  But this argument
neglects the fact that kids get together to play these things peer-to-peer,
and or take turns at the console.

> I am by no means endorsing all the views expressed in some of the above
> links.  I am aware of the Waldorf Movement only because affiliated folks
> have done some interesting, and, in my view (I am not an authority),
> unimpeachable work in connection with projective geometry.  So they happen
> to be on my radar, and their particular form of "resistance" is something
> I can quickly put my hands on.

I'd be more interested in understanding your own views than trying to wade
through the Waldorf stuff.  If you're such an avowed enemy of educational
arcade games, you must have a succinct synopsis of what's the big deal.

> And I am not unwilling to find allies where I can, on this issue.

I wonder if Waldorfians would consider you an ally.  I doubt you follow
their line in enough key respects to be considered on board with their
overall philosophy of education.  But I don't really know.

> The issues here are by all reasonable standards beyond scientific
> measurement, though the folks committed to this approach will, no doubt,
> claim scientific justification. And have considerable success, I'm afraid.
> What we are left with, really, is another front of cultural wars.  There
> is a computer scientist down in Brazil vocal on these issues, whose stuff 
> I appreciated - but I can't re-find the link right now.
> I'll bother the list with it when I do.
> Art

So far, I'm no further educated as to your specific objections.  When you
come up with something (that's specifically yours), let me know.  I don't
really want to read long essays.  Just give the gist.


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