Cheap Flash Animation Games Beats Daily Teacher Monlogues

In the past several months I’ve been opening my computer lab at lunch at least once a week to 6th to 8th grade students. It’s really brought home to me why so much of a student’s “educational day” is so mind-numbingly boring. Even the low-tech flash-based games with cheap animation pulls them in so much more than whatever we teachers tend to offer (with our non-visual monologues that requires almost no REAL interaction… boys and girls, eye-contact is not interaction!). Also, alas for the most part there only tends to be one group of maybe four girls for every herd of twenty males who visit the lab. The girls during lunch almost exclusively visit music or myspace-esque sites. But when the girls in my 7th grade computer class were given free time they generally also go to the flash-based websites (though rarely to the same FPS sites that the boys flock to).
It’d be very interesting to see what sorts of numbers can be collected on how students learn in terms of the real “knowledge acquisition” ’cause while they’re failing math, science, history and lit., they’re learning how to hack around the district firewall, how to master any collection of firing controls for tons of FPS games (alas, with lots of gangster themes). So it’s not about capacity to learn as much as perceived relevancy and our failure to really implement systems of learning that having anything to do with genuine interaction with the subject matter. But that’s just me, a pepperdine drop-out, jbb