Everything I Know I Learned From Carmen San Diego

from the trade-wars-taught-us-finance dept

Coming from a generation which honed its problem-solving skills decades ago sitting at an Apple IIe and playing Oregon Trail, it's a little strange to see a professor in 2006 having to argue the merits of educational video games as a learning tool in the classroom. The professor argues that video gaming can teach children innovative adaptation skills, assuming teachers are using the right games: his. Dubbed "epistemic games," the professor's titles teach kids adaptive thinking while they tackle simulated occupations such as biomechanical engineering, journalism, or graphic artistry. We've discussed studies claiming that games help kids to multitask, improve their confidence, or just make learning more interesting. Of course there's been quite a few scientifically dubious studies as well, many financed by publishers who argue kids should be gaming in class, well, just because. Many of these studies and articles seem to lump games into one massive category, and obviously there's a huge difference between Doom and city simulators -- or skill building games like Math Blaster. Of course the media's obsession with Grand Theft Auto may have left parents and teachers game-phobic, making them unreceptive to new educational gaming ideas. Whatever the reason, the educational gaming industry has been hard hit, and has been facing a consistent and significant drop in sales since 2000. It's a shame, since trying to find Carmen San Diego made us who we are today.

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  1. identicon
    chris falco, 11 Jan 2007 @ 3:28pm

    I have fond memories of my 8088 and Apple ][ games.

    I saved up all my birthday $ to buy Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego after I got into the TV show which used to air on PBS stations in afternoon hours.

    I learned more about the US form that game than probably any other source. There are still things form that game the follow me to this day. Such as where the Sioux indians came from.

    I also played Math Blaster....alot.....infact I remember convincing my dad to pay me to play it, 1 penny a point. So I'd play for a few hours and print out my scores and make enough $ ($1-2) to ride my bike downtown and buy some baseball cards.

    Ah the good old days.

    At the same time, i remember getting a copy of Mortal Kombat from my friend in Junior High and playing it for a few hours when I first got it, and my parents sat me down and told me they felt it was too violent of a game and didnt want me playing it. I kept the game disks but I didnt play it.

    I seemed to have fairly well informed parents (which is maybe uncommon?) but they seemed to steer me in the right direction.

    And while I love playing M rated games, like Grand Theft Auto today, I've never carjacked or shot anyone, but I sure as hell remember my multiplication tables.

    It all comes down to the parenting.

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