Parents in New Mexico are upset over an after-school program for kids that features an educational videogame they say is "feeding the addiction" to gaming.
Near the end of May, Action 7 News in Albuquerque, New Mexico, reported on a popular new videogame that sixth-grade kids were playing in school after class. But there was a twist: The "high-action" game with "all the bells and whistles" is actually educational, requiring kids to use math skills ranging from basic properties to algebra in order to advance. Teacher Gary Bodman raved about the success of the program, saying, "It's unbelievable. You can see what's going on here, and this is for mathematics."
But some parents aren't as enthusiastic about the situation as Bodman. "We are feeding the addiction of these children to videogames," said parent Marlene Perrotte. She accused the game of being too violent for a school environment, claiming that the action was what the kids liked about it, not its educational value. "They were all excited... because of the violence," she added.
Bodman described the game as a "21st century flash card" and noted that it simply reinforces what the students learn in their normal classes. "They can use jetpacks and at the same time they have to know what the associative property is," he said. "Anything we can do to meet the kids on their own grounds and educate them is to our advantage."
Student Jonathan Burton said he didn't know what prime numbers were before he played the game, but Perrotte wasn't buying it. "What the recall is, is not the prime number they were talking about but rather getting through to the enemy," she said.
The school plans to give copies of the game to kids to take home and play over the summer and added that it would be "more than happy" to let worried parents try it out so they can see its value for themselves. I have a feeling that's an invitation at least one parent will decline.