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NY Times Article Argues Merits of Computer Games in Schools

This weekend’s New York Times magazine has predictions that computer games are on their way to being a big part of the school day.  The benefits include improved reaction times  in quick shoot games and logic and thinking in strategy games.

Are they kidding?   Can this really be where things are at now?  Kids are listening to the teacher so let’s give them what they want but try to make it at least a bit educational?

The downsides of computer games are well known:  some depression, social isolation, etc.  But really, the main victim of playing computer games is attention stamina, specifically inattentive attention deficits.  This is a learning skill already in short supply in American society at large that needs to be carefully nurtured.

Instead, computer games make it too easy to pay attention.  When children have to make no effort to engage they lose the skill of attending to things that are less interesting.  Following the teacher or reading for long periods will get more and more difficult and surely academic achievement will slide?

Our learning programs also cash in on this computer game reality, but they are careful not to make attending too easy.  It is a fragile balance.

Here is a link to the article:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/19/magazine/19video-t.html