School of Shock

September 3, 2007

The Rotenberg Center is the only facility in the country [US] that disciplines students by shocking them, a form of punishment not inflicted on serial killers or child molesters or any of the 2.2 million inmates now incarcerated in U.S. jails and prisons. Over its 36-year history, six children have died in its care, prompting numerous lawsuits and government investigations. Last year, New York state investigators filed a blistering report that made the place sound like a high school version of Abu Ghraib. Yet the program continues to thrive—in large part because no one except desperate parents, and a few state legislators, seems to care about what happens to the hundreds of kids who pass through its gates.

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Games in Education

July 2, 2007

Games in Education video created by Mark Wagner and Michael Guerena of the Orange County (CA) Department of Education’s Educational Technology group. They have given permission to post. A really interesting video on games in education.  I completly agree that games can play a major role in education, when I got my hands on the Nintendo DS title “Brain Training” my first thought was “wow – I wish I’d had this as a kid!”  I think it could be an excellent tool.  I do think we have to be careful however.  I’ve recently finish a book discussing violence in western culture and its effects on creating a violent society.  I believe theres a strong argument against the use of violent games (I’ll explain my position on this in future posts).  To think that children could learn much about WWII by playing a war management game I think is stretching things, the important lessons remain the human experience for evacuated children and their bombed homes, to reverse this and have children selecting to bomb cities is a gross perversion. I think our schools should try to create a progressive education focused on the values of peace, human rights and non-violence.  In my opinion theres no justification for normalising violence to children.  Education establishments also bear a large responsibility, if we do allow any violent games into the education system, they could be played by every child in the country.  Even if the game has a very small effect of enabling violent attitudes this will be amplified over the entire nation. Read the rest of this entry »