Saturday, 3 September 2011

"Warrior" School?

This is what we know.  There's a Stockholm, Sweden regional school which had a spot inspection.  I'm kinda shocked that inspectors run around a country....inspecting high schools....we'd certainly fail half the schools in America on an average day if we did that kind of thing.  But in this case, the inspector came face-to-face with a bunch of warriors.  World of Warcraft warriors to be honest.

The school had a serious shortage of teachers.  So in their brilliance of making up for this shortage....they decided that they'd set up a substitution for gym class.  The wisdom was....they put out a X-Box and probably start up one of the Wii-type physical episodes where people do "fun" stuff.

The inspectors walked in and then discovered....because there was no football coach (as we'd have in America), or Miss Wanda-the-volleyball coach around....that the kids ran things themselves, and played World of Warcraft.  This might have been ok for an hour.  But the problem after talking to the punks became more obvious to the inspectors....they were staying in the room most of the day...playing World of Warcraft.

This lead onto an interesting teacher and student relationship.  The teachers had cooked up this educational agenda where they were each in World of Warcraft....with the teacher and students interacting via their own avatars and talking via the online message service Skype.  Thus Teacher "A" sat in one classroom, while Johnny was sitting in the gym.....and everything thought that actual work was being done, but it never was.

So the inspectors wrote up this report.  Shockingly....the Swedish inspectors finally came around to this notion......that World of Warcraft was entertainment, and was never supposed to be part of education.

The principal was asked for a the regional newspaper Expressen....and her response was: "When you start up a new project, you can't get everything right at once."

I sat and pondered upon this.  I continually watch various "experts" chat and want to speak out how lousy the American education system is.  I listen to folks complain about "bad" students, lousy educational topics, poor teachers, unqualified leadership within the school sector, and lack of funding.

The blunt truth is that kids over the last fifty years have changed.  We were all kinda tired of school by the time you turned sixteen.  Somehow, we lasted through that last two years and just accepted this mythical twelve year idea as being logical.  Today?  There's probably thirty percent of these kids going through the last two years of high school and they are absolutely bored and unwilling to put any effort into the classes, period.  If you offered them the choice of school or World of Warcraft for six hours a day......they'd pick the game.

So what happened in this case....a number of teachers sat around and came to this obvious conclusion....somehow balance World of Warcraft into the school and pump-up these kids.  The program in this case actually stamped "social science" on the gaming period.  It all made sense to them but I doubt if the national education guys ever realized what the heck was going on.

Somewhere out there....there's a World of Warcraft guy looking at this and scratching his head.  What if he could add in forty thousand lines of gaming code that forced a kid to find the magic sword and you had to answer five questions on Thomas Edison's light bulb.  What if you could require a warrior to cross a bridge over a deep river....but you had to complete sixty math problems that you had to complete in twelve minutes.  Or how about magic unicorn becoming your property if you typed in the ten major components of communism?

Somewhere out there....sits a World of Warcraft designer....who just be save the American education system.  He or she might even win a Nobel Prize for something....just by forcing the gamers to get smart while playing.  Stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile.....if you were taking gym class in Sweden and expecting some warrior'd best now bring your tennis shoes and expect some dodgeball....just my opinion.

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