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The Great Connections Seminar
Monday, December 21, 2009
Can Videogames Teach Kids?
Here's a good, short article from Parade Magazine on how schools are using videogames for education. Not surprisingly, there are many creative applications of games, and these seem like a huge step up from the traditional way students are taught.
Games are especially wonderful for creating whole worlds in which people can learn, i.e. how to navigate, strategize, learn finance, see photos of far-off places - heck, I can't begin to summarize the numbers of things you can learn through games.
But young children and adolescents - well, even adults - need sensory and physical experience to adequately develop their minds. Virtual reality just isn't the same.
Since students don't get a lot of sensory and physical experience in the way knowledge is taught in traditional schools, games may not be worse than all the paper-and-pencil learning, in this respect. But there are far better ways to convey knowledge through sensory-motor and real-world experiences, such as the materials and experiences used in the Montessori Method.
In fact, at our school, Council Oak Montessori, we're seeing so many children who hardly get to play outside anymore. Their parents are too busy or worried about danger. This deprives them of essential experiences with nature and physical reality. What we do through the Montessori Method, then, is more important than ever.
Consequently, I'd like to see the use of games - but judiciously.