The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning
James Paul Gee
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One of the first champions of the positive effects of gaming reveals the dark side of today's digital and social media
Today's schools are eager to use the latest technology in the classroom, but rather than improving learning, the new e-media can just as easily narrow students' horizons. Education innovator James Paul Gee first documented the educational benefits of gaming a decade ago in his classic What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. Now, with digital and social media at the center of modern life, he issues an important warning that groundbreaking new technologies, far from revolutionizing schooling, can stymy the next generation's ability to resolve deep global challenges. The solution-and perhaps our children's future-lies in what Gee calls synchronized intelligence, a way of organizing people and their digital tools to solve problems, produce knowledge, and allow people to count and contribute. Gee explores important strategies and tools for today's parents, educators, and policy makers, including virtual worlds, artificial tutors, and ways to create collective intelligence where everyday people can solve hard problems. By harnessing the power of human creativity with interactional and technological sophistication we can finally overcome the limitations of today's failing educational system and solve problems in our high-risk global world. The Anti-Education Era is a powerful and important call to reshape digital learning, engage children in a meaningful educational experience, and bridge inequality.
We relegate other things to background status or leave them out altogether as not important or relevant. I can refer to the United States as a “democracy,” thereby foregrounding voting and representation. I can refer to it as a “republic,” thereby foregrounding the ways in which voting (one person, one vote) is limited by the Electoral College and the equal representation that small states get in the Senate. I can refer to it as a “plutocracy” and thereby foreground the role of money and wealth
even before that. It was aggressively advocated by Henry Ford as part of his anti-Semitic campaign. In the twentieth century it was popularized by Herbert Armstrong and, later, his son Garner Ted Armstrong, both well-known Christian evangelists. The story has some interesting effects. It allows people who are often anti-Semitic to claim they are no such thing because in reality they are the real Jews. It is they who will inherit the Promised Land and the blessings of God, not the so-called Jews.
scene in Edwin O’Connor’s great novel The Last Hurrah, which is based on the life of James Michael Curley, says it all (there is a good movie adaptation as well, made in 1958, directed by John Ford and starring Spencer Tracy). I don’t want to spoil the novel or the movie for you, but the old mayor makes it clear on his deathbed that he would have done nothing different and is dying with a clear conscience. Humans have a great capacity to form and re-form in their minds who counts as “one of us,”
Conquest (2010). The movies are simultaneously funny and sad, as Australians seek to cope with the toad invasion they brought on themselves. Stories like the cane toad story are, unfortunately, a dime a dozen in human history. We humans have repeatedly sought to intervene in complex systems in arrogant ways that try to deny complexity in the name of profit and greed. The trouble is that how an organism behaves in an ecological system is not solely dependent on its properties as an individual
houses and designing clothes without worrying about low-end jobs and tight schedules or money running out. But, obviously, for Yamx’s challenge, such cheats would ruin its “realism,” its fidelity to the life of a poor and struggling single parent. We can note something that is quite apparent in many of Yamx’s rules: She is thoroughly knowledgeable about the technical details of The Sims as a game, as a simulation, and as a piece of software. She has considerable technical knowledge, but she is