Thursday, May 05, 2005

Can Videogames Change School Culture?

There are several instances of Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) games being used in after school programs, gym classes, etc to help stem the obesity epidemic among our youth. In talking with other another parent (also a nutrition Extension educator), we wondered if we can use a DDR videogame to change the culture in schools of using food as a fundraiser. In many schools, vending machines provide valuable revenue for PTAs and other groups, making schools reluctant to remove them. Additionally, many schools have school fundraisers centered around food: bake sales, candy sales, etc. We wondered if we couldn't create a pilot project where fundraising centered around activity: bouncy castles and slides at recess, DDR video games in the halls, pedometer sales, etc. If we were to go back 20 years to when I was in school, I can't imagine a school allowing any arcade game into the hallways... are games finally reaching a status level where they will be allowed in educational institutions?


At 10:18 PM, Blogger CC said...

Well, it would certainly be more palatable if the video games had some educational or social value. For instance, imagine "Time Crisis" set during the revolutionary war, with a storyline that illustrates the time period. If the player needed to answer key questions about the time period in order to take advantage of a "continue," then you could really get some of those hard-to-remember dates and events hammered through.

Another thought would be to have educational cell phone games that kids could play between classes that would earn them points, like the country-wide trivia contests that you see at bars. If kids could compete school-wide in age categories to solve math problems, answer historical questions, spot the grammar errors, etc., to get onto the leader boards for different disciplines, then you'd have kids competing for academic excellence for a change.


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