What’s Old Is Still Relevant: Classic Atari Game Used in Classroom

Teacher Builds Atari 2600 Space Shuttle Simulator For 8th Graders:

Looking for a fun and immersive way to teach his 8th grade students about space, science instructor Chad Shumaker brought Activision’s 1984 sim Space Shuttle: A Journey into Space to his classroom…

This article brought a smile to my face for several reasons:

  • using video game technology to create an engaging educational experience
  • that you don’t need the latest and greatest games or hardware
  • the budget was dirt-cheap


  • the teacher took an awful game and made it fun (or less awful)

I’m curious as to how common it is for teachers to utilize old computer games  in the classroom. My guess is hardly, particularly as classic games such as Oregon Trail are now available on cellphone and Nintendo Wii.

(via GameSetWatch, The Times-Reporter)

1,000 is the Magic Number: Game Fellowships & Assitants Wanted

1,000 must be the magic number of late. Two game designers have posted $1000 rewards for their game projects. Mary Flanagan, Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College and Director of the Tiltfactor Laboratory, is asking Dartmouth students to propose to take on one of five game projects.

Students who develop one of these games for Tiltfactor (with ample feedback from us) up to a working, fun, usable prototype will receive a Tiltfactor Fellowship, which comes with an honorarium of $1,000.

Jane McGonigal of Avant Game is seeking game assistants to help run EVOKE, a World Bank Institute funded “10-week crash course in changing the world:”

The goal of the game is to help empower young people all over the world, and especially young people in Africa, to come up with creative solutions to our most pressing problems: hunger, poverty, disease, war and oppression, water access, education, climate change.

Both projects sound challenging and fun. Why not apply and see what happens?

tiltfactor announces game design fellowships

URGENT EVOKE: help us run a 10-week crash course in changing the world

Employers to Colleges: More Emphasis on Communication, Critical Thinking Skills

Interesting NY Times article by Kate Zernike, on colleges focusing more on training for specific jobs and careers:

The Association of American Colleges and Universities recently asked employers who hire at least 25 percent of their workforce from two- or four-year colleges what they want institutions to teach. The answers did not suggest a narrow focus. Instead, 89 percent said they wanted more emphasis on “the ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing,” 81 percent asked for better “critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills” and 70 percent were looking for “the ability to innovate and be creative.”

If the survey numbers from this article are accurate, a broad-based curriculum is what employers want. Given the recent economy woes and increasing tuition costs though, such an education sounds more like a luxury. Maybe it’s an issue of quantifying learning: on a resume, it appears more impressive when you can list several specific skills, versus listing that you “work very well with others and articulate.”

What do you think?

Making College “Relevant” [via tiltfactor]

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