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Using games as specialized learning

Ross Miller

The Chicago Tribune recently published an expose on the efforts of David Williamson Shaffer, an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a long and accredited background in education. Shaffer is pushing to use video games as a means of teaching kids new specializations, as opposed to enhancing currently-covered curriculum (e.g., Math Blasters).

Shaffer, who just released a book How Computer Games Help Children Learn, argues that we should utilize interactive entertainment to better prepare children for the real world. "We already choose to have our kids think like historians [in history class]," he said, "or like cartoon scientists ... In thinking like a journalist or an urban planner or a lawyer in society, you prepare kids to enter the workforce as more prepared citizens."

We await the day where our descendants enjoy a round of Mario Teaches Electrical Engineering.

See Also:
Our coverage of the Serious Game Summit 2006

[Update 1: It's Shaffer, not Shaffen -- I used both. Sorry for the confusion.]

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