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Zach Both

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How would you redesign the current high school program?

I have the opportunity to help completely redesign a local high school program. There's no debate that drastic reforms are needed and I was hoping you would have some ideas on what should be added, what should be altered and what should be scrapped altogether. I'm looking for a wide range of answers from specific details to broader ideas on the whole system. Don't hold back. Im looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

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    Dec 4 2011: http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/gamifying-education

    I'm a game designer, so the ideas proposed in the above link are very interesting to me. Even if games are "not your thing", I do recommend watching it. It's a very thought provoking video, in my opinion.
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      Dec 5 2011: great video. gamification is definately the way to go.
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      Dec 5 2011: Well, there are games and games. Civilization was a laudable example of how to teach good governance and appreciation of the art of politics (or policymaking) while Red Alert, Age of Empires and others are not. The latter are simply about amassing wealth in order to buy more weapons BUT WITH NO CIVILIANS and THAT is extremely dehumanizing. Meanwhile, Civilization included civilians and every move you made as a player had a political price -- if you raised taxes to buy more weapons, local discontent rose and once it reached a certain level, your own population would side with any invader in case of attack.

      The dehumanizing games have already exercised powerful, negative control over kids. During the Columbine Massacre, the student killers laughed liked they'd hit a jackpot of points; there is footage of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq where the radio talk was regularly punctuated with cheers of approval and laughter; there is footage of private security contractors driving down a highway in Iraq taking free shots at anybody who happened to be roadside along their path.

      That's scary because it seems clear to me that these hyper-realistic shoot-em-up games are completely blurring the big thick bright red line our conscience should have between symbolic targets in a game and real human beings with parents, spouses, kids and grandkids.

      Then the soldiers go home and wonder why they get locked into the psychotraumatic vortex called PTSD.
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        Dec 5 2011: While I don't exactly agree that the cheers of approval and laughter from soldiers can be attributed to video games (you can find examples of that far before video games came around), that's not really the point of gamification. If you haven't watched the video, I recommend you do. It has very little to do with playing actual video games.

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