Bill MacKenty

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My little existential crisis about COTS games….

Posted in Games in education on 04 - October 2006 at 11:51 PM (17 years ago). 211 views.


The reason I was so drawn to COTS games is because the energy the kids put into them. 

I want you to imagine this:  kids who simply didn’t care about school unmotivated to learn, sort of drifting through the system. It was depressing (especially compared to China, where the kids seemed to universally value education and it’s promise)

But then I see them incredibly interested in these dynamic, complicated, intricate games, and I think “Hey…why not?”.  with good instructional design, these could be a potent vessel for learning in the classroom.  Coupled with my interest in computer games, simulations, and text-based gaming, I thought (and still do) COTS games are the way to go.  COTS games can meet the learner. The kids can use their high motivation and learn!  It’s the key thing about COTS titles; they bring out motivation, motivation, motivation.

But now I’m working in NYC at a school for very, very bright kids.  Yesterday, I spent a good 40 minutes having a delightful conversation about PHP, SQL injection attacks, managed hosting, and my favorite CMS with a seventh grader (13 years old)!  This kid was so far ahead of anything I’ve ever seen. I was impressed and awed at the same time. 

So where do COTS titles fit into a school where 90% of the student body is already highly motivated, energized about learning, inquisitive, and interested? 

...bit of an interesting dilemma, yes?

I’ve really no doubt of the value of COTS games, and I’m equally certain COTS titles are the way to go (as opposed to non-cots games) I’m thinking of modding COTS titles with the video game club, which I think holds great promise, but for now, the question remains: Where does COTS titles fit within the high-achievers sphere of students?

Look forward to your input.