Bill Gates foundation is working with the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington on a free, online game called Refraction. The goal of the game is to rescue animals whose ships are stuck in outer space. The ships require different amounts of fuel, powered by lasers. So the players have to manipulate fractions to split the lasers into the right amount of fuel.
“Imagine if kids poured their time and passion into a video game that taught them math concepts while they barely noticed, because it was so enjoyable,” Gates said during his speech at the ECS national forum.
As a public school teacher, I have a healthy skepticism of Bill Gates. It is no secret that he loves himself a charter school and will spend millions of dollars to bring them to a city near you, just take a look most recently at Chicago. And even though we can sometimes be enamored by professional athletes, politicians, and people who are billionaires, my dad always taught me to never put anyone on a pedestal. You see, Bill Gates is not an educator, neither is Khan from Khan Academy whom he funds. I am always skeptical of people who want to try to reform something that they have no experience in. Video games, Mr. Gates, should not replace a teacher. I don’t care how educating they are.
Teachers have not had these tools before. Fragmented standards that differ from state to state and district to district have made it hard for innovators to design tools to reach a wide market. The common core will help change that.
The common core is so incredibly vague that most states and districts find that their standards are already better.
In the classroom of the not-too-far-off future, kids will have computer devices with phenomenal interactive content. This will allow teachers to do what they call “flip the classroom.” Instead of learning a concept in class and applying it at home, students would learn the concept at home, on video, and apply it in class, where they can get help from the teacher.
Except when half of your class doesn’t do the assignment at home. Then you have a real conundrum.
I hope you’ll do all you can to help speed the adoption of new classroom technology. Teachers have waited long enough.
Agreed! Maybe Bill Gates will help fund it in public schools where it is needed, but not likely.