[Edu-sig] re: Education Arcade

Laura Creighton lac at strakt.com
Sat Dec 13 17:56:35 EST 2003

In a message of Sat, 13 Dec 2003 12:26:44 PST, "Kirby Urner" writes:
>Imagine an arcade game wherein you're running for president of some country.
>You have money concerns, issue concerns, perception concerns.  Donor X
>promises you big bucks, but not if you appear to side with Y in your
>statements.  Different versions of a stump speech appear on screen.  You
>have to decide which one you'll go with (advisors weigh in with pros and
>cons, perhaps audibly, using emotional language).  Money sources appear or
>dry up as a result of your choices.  In the meantime, your competition is
>doing likewise.  Negative ads appear, about your accepting funds from
>Donor X.

Kirby, this is an example of the problem.  When you teach children
using a simulation, you teach them, in addition to everything else,
to think within the system that the simulators were using.

So here we have, as unchallenged assumption -- it costs big bucks to
become president.  The fix for that would be to pass campaign finance
reform -- forbid spending beyond a certain amount.  Every version
of those stump speeches come with the biases of the people who
authored them.  Their results have the outcomes that somebody
programmed in as well.  You have now taught the children how to
use emotional language to criticise people and get them to change
their positions based on how well you can manipulate them.  Your
funding base, presumably, is either the White, Prosperous Middle
class, or Big Business -- since you are campaign contribution based.
Does your simulation reflect the fact that poor people do not vote
in the USA?  Negative ads are now a fact of life .... it goes on,
and on.

I don't want another generation of Americans conditioned to view the
system as something that can not be changed, but can only be worked.
I don't know what the best way to teach children how to question
authority, recongnise opportunities, and strive to improve the society
they are in, but I suspect that this is a step in precisely the wrong


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