School learning is a relatively new development in the history of the world. For hundreds of thousands of years, nobody went to school, and the world did not end. Everything progressed slowly, but I’m sure they will say the same of us in 500 years, right?
How did anyone learn? We learned by doing. But before we could do, we could play. It turns out we can still learn through play.
Yeah! Break out the Angry Birds!
Not yet. There are better games with much more thought and research behind them. You can read about Physics Playground on the Mind/Shift blog from KQED. This is no ordinary game, and the people behind it have put a lot of thought and research into the project. They explain it much better in their own words on their website. Here is what what I found most interesting:
I’ve been known to complain about “educational” games that simply hone fast reflexes behind a thin veneer of content (Cool Math Games, Engineering.com, etc). I wish teachers who let students fritter away their time on these sites would take a more honest look and ask themselves the questions in the above screenshot.