Learning, Innovation & Tech

Bombs & Breakthroughs

Supreme Court Justice Touts Video Game Site To Teach Civics & Government

CJ Westerberg, July 4, 2011 1:47 PM

stephanopoulos3.jpg

Prev. Published by The Daily Riff 5/30/10

UPDATE:
O'Connor's Video Game Revolution via Newseek July 4, 2011


"Well, most mothers are (natural teachers), don't you think?"
-Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor


Sandra Day O'Connor Touts Video Games
To Learn Civics, History & Government

 Interview -Video Below

By C.J. Westerberg

An unlikely dynamic duo: retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and video game learning.  
Yes, video games.  (I tried two and got hooked on the second one immediately - more
on that later).

Because of O'Connor's sad observation of just how far schools had narrowed the curriculum
as an "unintended consequence" of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, which rewards schools and teachers to overly focus on Math and Reading to the detriment of other subjects like History and Civics, she wanted to do something about it.  Her vision became a site called iCivics where students can learn how government works through video games, and without
the often dull-as-dirt memorization of  factoids and charts, soon forgotten after the test.  Day O'Connor points out how many schools have gone so far not to even teach civics anymore,
or at least in any meaningful way.

Check out her three minute video below with Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos.  A few of the "scary" take-aways:

  • Two-thirds of Americans can name the judges on American Idol but less than 1 in 10 Americans can name even ONE Supreme Court justice.

  • Only one-third of Americans can name our three branches of government.

When Stephanopoulos suggested she was "a natural teacher" after witnessing her presentation of  iCivics to students, Day O'Connor responded with a witty, what-did-you-expect remark:  "Well, most mothers are (natural teachers), don't you think?"

Stressing the importance of empowering young kids to be involved with their government and to understand "the system" to be better participants, Day O'Connor wants iCivics to become a part of the school curriculum across the country, (which may not sit well with certain constituencies in this country, nor will some of the content . . . I can only guess).

(Recent Update:  Parents wrote in and "Supreme Court Decision" and was a big hit with their teen/tweens -- also works really well for any kids involved with a debating team or debating club.  Link here.)

In another game called "Argument Wars", I clicked on "Brown Vs. The Board of Education" and had to select the best virtual card representing an argument to counter the opposing side.  Talk about learning "with context" . . . plus the music background creates a sense of drama.  Why not?   While some folks may have issues with the particular "cases" and arguments, this site offers plenty of solid content, opportunities for students and teachers to check out comprehension ability and 21s Century higher order thinking skills.  Most importantly, hopefully it will inspire and engage students to learn about our government and be more active citizens. 

Having developed an extensive prototype for a virtual world and casual games for youth, I think this is an impressive undertaking and achievement in its newly-introduced form.  One of my favorite aspects is that it's just so refreshing to see arguments presented without yelling and idiotic language - that in itself, is a great lesson for kids.

Tell us what you think -

Related:

Richard Dreyfuss:  "We have mis-educated our children so badly."




blog comments powered by Disqus
It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Leonardo da Vinci
Follow The Daily Riff on Follow TDR on Twitter

find us on facebook

bill-gates.FT.Financial-Times.jpg

Cool Smart Teen: Changing the conversation about building stuff

SMW, 11.04.2013

Not just building an app to play with . . . but a test for cancer

Read Post | Comments

Riffing good stories

Stanford.design-thinking. innovation.jpg

Video: What is the link between "design-thinking" and creativity?

SMW, 11.03.2013

Creative Confidence: Must-Watch Interview on Charlie Rose

Read Post | Comments
early education.preschool.jpg

How Much Do Early Years Lead to Student Success?

CJ Westerberg, 11.03.2013

"The idea being that wasn't necessarily to create little engineers everywhere, though that would be great for us. The idea was to take advantage of the natural learning process and curiosity that children have at that age . . ." Tamika Lang, Boeing

Read Post | Comments
weekend-reading.jpg

NEW: Weekend Reading

SMW, 11.03.2013

Looking for Intimacy in the Age of Facebook is a higher education course (yes, you heard right). Interestingly, social media may inhibit creativity and innovation

Read Post | Comments
CV.digital.jpg

The New Resume

SMW, 10.31.2013

A picture is worth a thousand words. A video game-like format is worth . . .

Read Post | Comments
red.blue.abstract.jpg

Noam Chomsky: The Purpose of Education

CJ Westerberg, 10.31.2013

"Education is really aimed at helping students get to the point where they can learn on their own. . . "

Read Post | Comments
twitter2BigBird.jpg

Noam Chomsky: In the news again, this time about Twitter and High Schoolers

SMW, 10.31.2013

Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at MIT, "father of linguistics", political commentator.  From bio: "Besides his work in linguistics, Chomsky is internationally recognized as one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today":               ...

Read Post | Comments
CIMG0353.jpg

Choke: Test-taking - - - a different way to look at test-prep?

CJ Westerberg, 10.28.2013

"Most students will not find a steady diet of test-prep drills and worksheets to be particularly meaningful, and accordingly, they will not put forth optimal learning effort."

Read Post | Comments
beehive.bee.jpg

Does your school have a beehive?

CJ Westerberg, 10.27.2013

"If we want children to be inventors, we have to give them opportunities to invent." - 5:00 mark, Mission Hill video

Read Post | Comments