August 5, 2008

Gaming In the Media Center

I recently read this "research" and I started to get grumpy. A million counter-arguments filled my mind. I began sharpening my blog knives so I could properly cut him to ribbons. Then I read this and realized it must all be a joke. Pretty good satire too!

He gives three reasons for putting video games in school media centers: Individualization of learning, Simulation of authentic experience, and Intellectual complexity.

He's not talking about spending actual money on expensive and soon-obsolete video games at all. He's talking about books. He's cleverly disguised it as a push for wasteful and pointless video games when he really is telling us NOT to do such a stupid and pointless thing. He wants us to quit wasting our time and money on silly and distracting technology and buy more books. They're the perfect thing. What else offers the individualization of learning so well? What else could possibly simulate authentic experience so well (I'm remembering crying for Charlotte in E.B. White's classic right now), and what else offers just the right amount of intellectual complexity?

They almost had me going there for a moment. Now I know what to do. Buy more books!

Sheer Brilliance. Up there with Swift's A Modest Proposal.

Thank you so much for a good laugh Justin Ashworth and Scott McLeod. I'm wiping a tear from my eye in appreciation.


doug0077 said...

Hi Ninja,

If you can stand just a little more on games... From


1. Games keep busy kids who might otherwise be disturbing other kids.
2. Playing games gives teeth to the threat, "If you don't follow the rules you will lose your computer privileges."
3. Games give kids practice with social skills when they work in teams.
4. Games give kids practice learning strategy and logic.
5. Games teach content.
6. Games build reading and math skills.
7. Games build research skills when looking for information about game strategies or solutions to puzzles.
8. Games build intergenerational conversations and relationships. (Four out of ten American adults turn to video games as their primary source of entertainment.)
9. Games get kids into libraries who might not otherwise go there, increasing the likelihood of book check out.
10. Games build a positive association with school that might not otherwise be there for a lot of kids.


1. Kids playing games might be using resources (computers, bandwidth, chairs, oxygen) that other kids might need to do “real” school work.
2. Kids playing games find school fun and we all know life isn't about fun.
3. Playing games is against school rules.

All the best,


Teacherninja said...

Thanks Doug. If it's a library issue, count on you to have thought it through in the best way possible. I do want to clarify. I am not talking about banning all games. I'm just talking about buying Nintendo Wii's for the media center and other nutty ideas those guys were pushing. I'll do some more follow up soon. Thanks again!

Justin said...


Glad I could make you laugh and that you can peg me and the ideas of others as "nutty."

Since you seem to be putting down my efforts to investigate the potential of gaming in school libraries I suggest that you read Marc Prensky and Eli Nieburger's research.

From Neiburger:
"Videogames shouldn't be excluded from the library simply because they're new or because they're just for fun or because their just for kids or because their not books or because their so popular and not all good or because their sometimes inappropriate. If we didn't offer services for those reasons, there wouldn't be any services left."

I'm not advocating the willy-nilly placement of a Nintendo Wii into a school library. It's actually quite the opposite. I'm suggesting using the principles behind good games to teach 21st century information literacy skills and engage learners.

Teacherninja said...


Thanks for the clarification. The link Doug mentioned above covered some of those same points and I will have my own clarification post up soon. I also believe in what you're probably getting at as well: selection. It would be wrong of me to dismiss all games out of hand, but it would also be wrong to start collecting them without strong criteria in place. Thanks for the comment--I've learned a lot today!