use-revolution Digest, Vol 11, Issue 62

Mark Greenberg markgreenberg at
Sat Aug 14 10:09:07 EDT 2004

On Friday, August 13, 2004, at 11:23 PM, Erik Hansen wrote:

> many "get" the concept of a sine wave only
> after seeing a visual representation.
> maybe the profs should talk to the game writers?

I usually don't pipe up in this list, feeling somewhat like a meerkat 
among lions and elephants, but now we're talking about my field.

As much money as we pour into school computers in the US, you'd think 
we'd use them for more than just typing, keeping grades, and Internet 
research.  The problem is that kids (who play video games) and 
programmers can see the possibilities like variable-dependent animation 
and game-like user interaction.  The vast majority of teachers think of 
computers as business machines with tools like spreadsheets, databases, 
and word processors.

For about 7 years my students have been using computers to learn 
through games that I have designed, and they have made presentations 
that include variable dependent animation.  For instance, one student 
made a stack that painted a picture randomly in one of a dozen color 
schemes and the player had to click on the type of color scheme.  
Another made a graph under the normal curve (for Stat class) that 
animated according to three different variables, all entered by the 
user.  There are scores more.

One interesting site that advances the view of using video-game 
metaphor as an educational design for programming is

Mark Greenberg
English Teacher

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