We are living in a digital world, why shouldn`t everything be digital? That is the approach that Katie Salen, executive director of Quest 2 Learn, a game based learning curriculum. Currently, Q2L is being tested in a New York middle school. Each day, 72 students are seated in front of a projector while games like Spore, Little Big Planet, and CodesWorlds are supposed to be teaching them. Instead of finals, the students "go to the next level," just like a game.
While the idea of technology aiding teaching isn`t unheard of, this is another nail in the coffin of becoming too digitized. Across the United States, the ability to communicate person to person is dwindling while becoming textually active is taking over. It`s becoming more and more common for people to sleep with their Blackberry - also called a crackberry by their owners - on the pillow beside them. Before coming out of bed, they are checking Twitter, Facebook, or Digg.
Scientists are to the point of labeling technology and especially the Internet as an addiction. Looking around, it`s easy to see why. Cell phones carry the latest games, iPods stream movies, and interpersonal relationships take a strain. Even in the 90`s, computer games like EverQuest, Warcraft, Lineage, and Diablo II were gaining addiction status to the point that people were dying from their addiction to gaming. Suicides are blamed on the overuse of games, and marriages are destroyed over so-called "heroinware."
So, what is this going to mean for little kids who get an early start into consistent gaming? A lot of problems. It`s foreseeable that social skills go down the tube, and the ability to write effectively also takes a nosedive. There are a lot of things we can do to advance learning, but jump-starting an addiction to technology isn`t the way to go.