Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fun and Games

Don't you wish you could play games all day? Many kids do, and now, for some, it's a reality. A New York school has incorporated game theory into their educational curriculum, and it has transformed how the students approach school. No longer a dreaded institution, the school is an eagerly awaited home for fun and games. Cloaked in the guise of games, however, is some very high-order thinking. Students work in teams to develop their own games, taking on roles as writers, directors, and costume designers. They must learn how all the components fit into the bigger whole, and they must work together to achieve a cohesive product. Further, this systems theory is applied to other standard subject matter as well. Students learn how fractions fit into the bigger picture, how sentences build the story, etc.

The application of systems theory is something we all can use in our classrooms. Students not only need to understand the workings of individual components, but in order to use them to their greatest advantage, they need to understand how the parts function in the bigger whole. They need both the big and little pictures in order to move fluidly through the working world. Sometimes, we get hung up on one concept or another, and we forget to include the relationship of this concept to overarching concepts, or even other disciplines. If we teach with a systems mentality, we can help our students understand the total picture, and they'll be ready to paint new vistas for themselves and others.

We just need to keep it fun!

Here's a video from The New York Times about the gaming school in New York:
New York Times Magazine

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