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Walter Radtke

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Can computer games be designed to deliver education in an effective manner?

With high school drop outs becoming a national epidemic and kids terminally bored with education in its present delivery format, could a series of educational games be devised to get kids from pre-school to high school graduation? I'm talking of games so compelling and interesting, yet gradient in skill levels, that ALL schooling will become home schooling and the costs of running brick and mortar school districts would disappear into the dust bin of history. The money saved by municipalities could be used to supply every child of age 3 with his own gamer system. My feeling is that incredible skill sets could be taught in short order, including cognitive skills that could rival autistic savant levels. It is becoming more clearly evident that we either get smarter faster or we welcome back the 12th century.

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    Jan 19 2012: I read you loud and clear, and I'm aware of the dangers of a computer simulation game environment. But, as you observe, it's an option for education that has potential. Measuring that potential would be the first step.

    In trying to stir the masses from my Hyde Park soapbox, I'll be tempted to communicate enthusiasm in broad strokes. You noting that instant gratification can be faulty is good, but we really don't know what kinds of gratification are necessary during childhood in order to create a mentally sound human, because judging from the human condition today, there are not many of them out there.

    I worry that there is too little gratification for children, historically, inherently rather than as a symptom of a modern ill. Concerning gratification, there is this old canard that if something isn't earned by sweat and blood, it isn't valued. That may have applied in an age where brawn ruled brains, but today we have more finely distilled sensibilities and it is becoming apparent that smarts always wins, gives us more control over our individual destinies. Ask anyone, would you rather be smarter or stupider? The answer is obvious.

    I just want progressive society able to provide its children with the gratification of more intelligence, of seeing themselves growing better able to comprehend the complexities of the world and take control of their lives in a hurricane of artificial appetites.

    My take is that the modern electronic world is so overwhelming with info overload, immersion and broadsides, that we simply must engineer more intelligence into handling the modern world more humanely, with liberty and justice for all. It's either that or the machines take over, the authoritarian machine men. We need to get smarter faster, or those who have and do, the power hungry narcissists will have their way with us.

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