Huey? Or Hooey? Maybe if I’d played more video games, I’d know how to spell.

Are video games really a waste of time? Or have we just not figured out how to put them to good use yet?

Daniel Burrus makes an interesting case for the latter. In An Education Revolution: Automate and Humanize!, he says video games are not the waste of time parents (like me) fear. “The only thing being wasted here is the true value and potential of these technological marvels.” A true Call of Duty diehard couldn’t have put it any better.

Burrus points out that some kids “pour hours into memorizing elaborate scenarios and developing…sophisticated strategies and tactics to accomplish goals and win the game.” Ergo, they don’t negatively impact a child’s attention span. In fact, that’s a good reason to redirect these high tech toys to create a revolution in education and training.

Burrus has almost 27,000 followers, but I wonder if he has any kids.

He advocates handing over the boring part of education – like teaching multiplication – to the computers. We would thereby “free” the teachers “to teach the higher levels of the cognitive domain – analysis, problem solving, synthesis, and creative thinking.”

I’m not sure. I never got a hint that any of my child’s teachers felt like banging their heads against the wall because of the mundaneness of teaching basic math. My child? Yes. But I assume her teachers had worked that out in their minds before signing on to teach elementary school.

I’m pretty sure if I suggested to any of them such vital building blocks were perhaps best left up to video game manufacturers, they would take away my Volunteer Parent sticker and make me stand in the corner.

Of course I believe technology can and should be used to enhance and improve education. Many of my daughter’s tests are computerized. She likes it because she gets her grade immediately. It’s just hard for me to accept that a computer could have taught her that information as well as a teacher.

Burrus, however, suggests that we should let the human teachers “sink their teeth into using that [technology-taught] math to solve real problems–like how to balance our budget.”

Granted, the math skills of those currently in charge of our national budget could use a little help. But I’d trust Mrs. Morgan’s no-nonsense approach over any politician, much less the makers of Mega Man 9.


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