Why Am I So Suprised!!!

Today for our belated Valentine's Day party, I decided to have a little free-for-all fun! I told the kids to bring in their gaming systems and we'd just play around, eat chips, drink pop, and munch a few candy hearts. This was an immediate hit!

One of my new guilty pleasures is Guitar Hero(GH) for PlayStation 2. Almost makes me want to run out and buy a PS3 off the shelf. What impressed me the most about the game wasn't the game itself, but the way the kids flocked to it! Both Dance, Dance, Revolution(DDR) and GH were great fun to watch as the kids did seemingly impossible contortions with both fingers and legs. If only I could harness some of that energy into the classroom...I know....Dance, Dance, American Revolution :-) Kids could stomp there way through the Southern Campaigns of George Washington. Defeat General Cornwalis while jamming to the Black Eyed Peas!!! Mind you, all of these games were being played larger than life on our SmartBoard. Our parent's educational dollars at work.

On two other TV screens we had an Xbox pounding away with Madden07 and a Nintendo Wii (actually, the Wii never made it into play mode. One of my student's dad forgot the a connector cable :-( For a wonderfully satirical piece on the Nintendo Wii, check out this article from Wired Magazine, I was almost rolling. For those of you who get Junior Scholastics, there was an article not too long ago about the violent effects of video games on teens. Of course the article was dismissed by 75% of the class.

After watching the glow of the video game lights in the eyes of my students, I realized that many of the kids are enormously engaged with this type of stimulation and interaction. Why not do as the old saying says, "If you can't beat'em, join'em."
This year, I tried using a video game with my class called Discover Babylon and it worked rather well. It was a bit clunky, but was very engaging. Could this be the future of education? Why not! If my students could be as engaged with Ancient Egypt or the War of 1812 as they are with Guitar Hero, I'm all for it!

Who knows...maybe there is future in it for some of our students? Check out this article!

But just like in all things, there must be moderation. There was that group of girls who sat off to the side, content to just watch all the other kids play and whiz their fingers over the fret board of that tiny guitar. What about them? Well, maybe we just haven't found the right game!!
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