[Edu-sig] Playing games
ajsiegel at optonline.net
Thu Sep 21 15:23:00 CEST 2006
From an article referenced (critically) in todays planet.python.org
Do the universities provide for society the intellectual leadership it
needs or only the training it asks for?
Traditional academic rhetoric is perfectly willing to give to these
questions the reassuring answers, but I don't believe them. By way of
illustration of my doubts, in a recent article on "Who Rules Canada?",
David H. Flaherty bluntly states "Moreover, the business elite dismisses
traditional academics and intellectuals as largely irrelevant and
So, if I look into my foggy crystal ball at the future of computing
science education, I overwhelmingly see the depressing picture of
"Business as usual". The universities will continue to lack the courage
to teach hard science, they will continue to misguide the students, and
each next stage of infantilization of the curriculum will be hailed as
I now have had my foggy crystal ball for quite a long time. Its
predictions are invariably gloomy and usually correct, but I am quite
used to that and they won't keep me from giving you a few suggestions,
even if it is merely an exercise in futility whose only effect is to
make you feel guilty.
Austin, 2 December 1988
prof. dr. Edsger W. Dijkstra
Department of Computer Sciences
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1188
Support Includes Lobbying, Sponsorships and Enhanced Development Tools *
Microsoft’s and MSR’s efforts to promote new instructional methods and
rebuild enrollment in computer science programs go far beyond the RFP
In addition to funding, proponents of game-related instruction say they
need help changing perceptions about computer games, particularly among
veteran computer science faculty who never played computer games when
they were growing up.
Microsoft and MSR have sought to take a leadership role in these efforts
by promoting potential applications for serious games and lobbying
government, academia and business about the benefits of game-related
instruction in computer science, Nordlinger says.
As usual in these discussions, the Microsoft stance relies - at it s
essence - on maintaining ambiguity about whether we are talking about
playing games, or the demanding (I can't do it, for example) notion of
writing them. And is in this respect is -at its essence - dishonest.
They are indeed playing games.
And mostly winning.
The Scheme community seem to me to take something of a stance on these
issues. Perhaps that stance is a __built-in__ to the language structure.
Python is perhaps more flexible, perhaps multi-paradigm extends to these
kinds of issues as well.
The best I seem to be able to hope for as a member of the Python
community is that it not become identified with a particular paradigm.
To me we are due for a different kind of PyCon keynote speaker on the
subject of technology and education, in the interest of balance. Perhaps
a leading Schemer.
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