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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Unschooling Rules – Serious Games As Microcosms For Learning


Serious Games challenging us to play a better education


Clark Aldrich’s book Unschooling Rules -55 Ways to Unlearn What We Know About Schools and Rediscover Education is as fun to read as playing Serious Games and his list of “55 rules that change our vision for schools” as pragmatic as the author.

Rule # 4, addressing 25 critical skills that are seldom taught, tested or graded in high-school such as adapting, analyzing and managing risks, being a leader, building and nurturing relationships, reengineering new actions, gathering evidence, managing conflicts, prioritizing tasks and goals are often developed, and eventually mastered, in the context of video games.

President Obama has echoed many of the 55 rules, in his policy shifts on education, including the ideas that standardized testing is NOT an effective way to either drive or measure a child's success, students should focus their time on studying subjects they need or love, learning to do is as critical as learning to know, and knowledge should be expanded through real world experiences, not just books or pictures.

Not coincidentally, there are quite a few references to games, Serious or not, across the 55 rules:

Rule #19 encourages the inclusion of Serious Games for a well-stocked library.

Rule # 21 assigns equal value to reading books and playing computer games, stating that from a “cultural and development perspective the best of each medium are of comparable worth to a today student”.

Rule # 26 “Biologically the necessary order for learning:  explore, then play, then add rigor”, is the essence of video gamers’ Epic Wins and multiplayer computer games are also addressed under rule # 36.

Clark emphasizes computer games advantage of being active content, requiring the resolution of frustration and providing a microcosm for learning.

Editorial Review

In many schools around the world, children en masse get dropped off and enter buildings where they become the recipient of linear “teaching” and tests. They go home, do homework, and start over again the next day-all for the goal of preparing them for the next level of school and meeting dubiously constructed standards. Can education be different?

While most schools continue to resist change, homeschooling families have abandoned the K-12 system and identified new, powerful, commonsense methods and goals for childhood education.

Education expert Clark Aldrich has explored the practices of homeschoolers and unschoolers (those who eschew the structure or curricula of schools) and distilled a list of 55 ''rules” that are changing both the way children are taught and our vision for schools.



About the Author

Clark Aldrich is a global education thought leader, labeled a guru by Fortune Magazine. He works with corporate, military, government, and academic organizations at both the board level and as a hands-on implementer. His projects have been patent winning and earned millions globally.

Clark Aldrich is also one of the top educational game designers in the world. His Educational Serious Games are market leaders in their categories, use custom Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Personality systems, have been rigorously proven to drive long term desired changes in behavior, and have been translated and deployed in dozens of countries and languages. He is also a pioneer in Educational Games for deaf and blind students.

His work has been featured in hundreds of sources, including CBS, ABC, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR, CNET, Business 2.0, BusinessWeek, and U.S. News and World Reports.